A promotion can be internal or a change to a new company. There are a few things you need to know or do in order to prepare for your next promotion:
- Be competent in all of the skills and knowledge required in your current position – If you aren’t a “master performer” in your current job, how can you expected to be considered for the next step up? Knowledge or skills missing now will haunt you later.
- Perform above average on your performance appraisals – A low performing employee who is promoted is usually the butt of jokes. Usually the person who is the model of excellence should be the primary candidate for promotion. Is that you?
- Know what the next steps are and acquire some of the skills for those steps – Get a running start for the promotion by anticipating the knowledge, skills, certifications or experience by working toward them. Get some experience as a volunteer or on a non-profit board.
- Have a good working relationship with your boss, or hiring manager if external – 50% of the path toward a higher level is based on a good or great working relationship with bosses, peers, co-workers and subordinates. The other 50% is high performance.
- Have a clear understanding of the success factors and expectations in the next job – If you don’t know what they are, it’s hard to succeed. A famous quote I like is, “Expectations are the great killer”. When expectations don’t match, bad things happen.
- Develop a plan and strategy rather than waiting for a promotion to “happen” – Take control of your destiny or someone else will. Any road will get you somewhere if you don’t have a plan, but it may not be where you want to go.
- Give yourself a reasonable time frame for strategy steps toward your goal – How much time do you need at each step of your career for you to master the position?The higher the responsibility level, the more time needed to master.
- Find a mentor if you can. An advisor can guide you to the best path toward success. Treasure a mentor if you can find one. They have already moved through the steps toward success and understand what needs to be done. Listen very carefully.
- Prepare for your career discussion – Make sure your pitch is tailored to what’s in the best interests of the organization, not what’s only in your best interest. If you start out by saying, “I’ve been here the longest and deserve a promotion”, you just eliminated yourself from being a candidate.
- If you fall short, ask what you need to do for future consideration – Objectively assess your performance and chance for promotion. Define your past accomplishments as a return-on-investment through measurable results in the future.
Your future is determined by your past. If your past is mediocre and doesn’t change, so shall your future.
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