What are some of the questions you need to consider if you seek a promotion? In the current economic and pandemic cycle, promotional opportunities are based on three factors: Availability, relationships, and technical/functional competence. Let’s review each one.
Availability – Being available when you’re working 100% remotely is different than a hybrid schedule of 2 or 3 days in the office. If you’re totally remote, you have to spend more time engaged with your boss beyond just the group meetings. You need to differentiate yourself from others, with higher quality of work, projects that add value to the organization, maybe volunteering to train new employees, or extending your support to a vendor, contractor or customer. Being “out of sight, out of mind” may put you further away from being considered for a promotion.
On the other hand, scheduling two or three days in the office with a hybrid plan provides you with the opportunity to be seen and available. This option needs careful planning, however. Find out the boss’s schedule so you have face-time with them. Being in the office when they are traveling won’t help you. Consider the culture of your organization and options, like providing individual career counseling, company sponsored programs, or developmental plans. Greater access to interactive events to meet with decision makers is critical.
Relationships – Make sure you connect with as wide a group of co-workers, boss’s and colleagues both inside and outside of your organization. Email is the least helpful, while telephone or zoom connections are better. But personal meetings, whether they be for coffee or social events, are preferred. These are the people who can identify potential promotional opportunities, know the high quality of your work, and can possibly introduce you to an open position. In other words, develop and expand your network. Join professional associations, alumni groups, and conferences within your functional interests. Many are virtual.
Technical/functional competence – If you’re not up to speed in your field of expertise or not a better than average performer, your chance of promotion is diminished. Keeping up or ahead of your contemporaries is one of the keys to moving ahead. During the pandemic, companies have mostly eliminated in-house training programs, developmental courses and the like. Unless you’ve taken the initiative with on-line programs or sought advanced certification, you most likely have fallen behind. Don’t let that happen. A consistent question from hiring managers is, “What did you do during the pandemic to advance your competencies?” If the answer is “nothing”, you may not make it to the next round of interviews.
Other considerations – There are other influences to consider:
- Are you considering moving from your current location? What about family issues?
- What are your compensation goals and will the marketplace accommodate them?
- Can you change to a different industry where your skills and experiences are needed?
- What’s your contingency plan if your strategy or new job doesn’t work out?
Promotional opportunities are out there. But it takes a strategy to get the best one for you.
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