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HR ADVICE: Getting that promotion

HR ADVICE: Getting that promotion


To be considered for promotion, you need to convince others you have what it takes. 


Getting a good job is a great way to start your career - but it is only a start. Most young professionals want to progress quickly through the ranks to more senior positions.

Understandably, the best way to increase your promotion prospects is to perform well in your current role.

However, simply doing a good job may not be enough to win you that promotion. There are other things you can do to give your superiors the confidence that you are ready to take the next step.

The first thing is to ask yourself whether you are ready to take the next step.

Do you have the skills and experience necessary to perform well in a higher position? How do your skills and experience compare with other potential candidates for promotion?

Identify any areas that you need to improve on - such as your writing skills or time management skills - and develop a strategy for improving them. Perhaps you need additional training or perhaps you just need to focus on doing better in certain areas.

State your goals

More generally, make sure your manager has a clear understanding of your career goals. Don't just assume that your manager knows that you hope to be promoted in the near future. He or she might think you are happy to stay in your current role for another few years.

If necessary, arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss your career goals, your promotion prospects and the areas you need to work on to be considered for promotion.

Raise your profile

In large organisations, employees sometimes feel "invisible" to the people who really count. Raise your profile within the organisation and make yourself known to the people who can influence your promotion prospects. These people include HR managers, recruitment managers, your manager's manager or other people in the organisation who are considered influential.

If you bump into these people in the staff kitchen or the elevator, try to strike up a conversation rather than simply saying hello.

Another way to raise your profile is to attend all company events and activities, including parties, outings and optional seminars.

These give you an opportunity to network with the right people and also demonstrate your commitment to the organisation.

Demonstrate your potential

To be considered for promotion, you need to convince other people that you "have what it takes" to be a success at the next level. In internal meetings, demonstrate your potential by being an active contributor, rather than a passive passenger. Ask questions, make suggestions and state your opinion. Show that you can think beyond the narrow confines of your existing role. But don't overdo it by talking just for the sake of making yourself heard.

Employers appreciate somebody who can be relied upon when the going gets tough or when difficult tasks need to be completed. Look for opportunities to take on difficult or unpopular tasks, or to support a team member when they are under pressure. This will demonstrate you are a team player who has the organisation's best interests at heart. However, don't set yourself up to fail by seeking out tasks that are ill-considered or unachievable.  

In general, more senior positions place greater emphasis on "soft skills" such as communication skills, interpersonal skills and relationship management. Develop a reputation as a good "people person" who communicates effectively, gets on well with colleagues and steers clear of office gossip.

If your organisation has formal promotion procedures (including interviews), don't take the process too lightly - even if you think you are a certainty for the promotion. Before the interview, think about what you have achieved in your current role and why you would perform well at a higher level. During the interview, show that you are confident in your abilities and that you really want the promotion.

If you miss out on the promotion, don't get frustrated or angry. Don't take out your frustrations on your manager or the successful candidate.

If you don't understand why you missed out on the promotion, seek feedback in a calm and professional manner.

Finally, remember that sometimes you have to be patient when it comes to promotions. You won't always get promoted as soon as you think you are ready for the next level.  


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