8 simple steps to gaining a promotion

Getting promoted means going beyond the job description. You must build what management consultant Daniel Johnson has called ‘career equity’, in that way establishing your ‘professional net worth’.

Career equity is achieved by developing, improving, and strengthening assets that will enhance your professional value in the management marketplace. Here are 8 simple steps to gaining a promotion that you can start implementing today…

1. Improve your knowledge and skills.

To progress in your career, you need to assess your knowledge and skills to uncover any deficiencies. Work purposefully to remedy these weaknesses. Continue to learn. Participate in training and updating programs.

Attend seminars and conferences to increase your knowledge, to inform yourself of new trends, and to meet influential people in your field. Read regularly the books and journals of your profession. Creative ideas can be nurtured only by broad, up-to-date knowledge.

2. Strengthen your credentials.

Most employers still value highly credentials earned through formal post-school education. This asset can also be strengthened through active membership of professional associations and committees, and through involvement in community service organisations and clubs.

Distinctions and honors gained through formal education, and through service to the profession and the community, will also gain for you important credit points.

3. Enhance your reputation.

Your reputation focuses on your overall image within the organisation and beyond. It is based on what people think of you and your accomplishments. The development of your credibility in terms of honesty, integrity, hard work, and consideration for others will strengthen this asset immensely.

4. Build up your relationships.

It’s been said before: ‘It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know.’ Here’s where mentoring and networking come in. A mentor can provide career information and opportunities for you.

Similarly, developing a network of professional contacts is also a positive career-strengthening strategy. Talk with senior people in your field; ask how they started and progressed.

Try to develop a relationship with your immediate superior and discuss career options together.

Become visible and known by name. Get to know strategic people in the system by participating in relevant committees, and making worthwhile suggestions for consideration at higher levels.

Working actively with others in professional associations can later lead to career advantages as well. Remember, too, that it’s important to get along with people at all levels: if you can’t get on with others, you won’t get on promotion-wise.

5. Nurture your track record.

To build up this asset, you need to be a proven performer at each stage of your career: a listing of your achievements over time will provide evidence of your track record. By developing expertise in a particular area, you also embellish your routine accomplishments and make a name for yourself in the wider business community.

Finally, don’t hide your light under a bushel: make sure others know of your successes, but be subtle about it.

6. Consider your tenure.

How tenure affects career equity varies greatly from profession to profession. In some organisations still, however, the longer an employee’s tenure, the greater the respect accorded. Increasingly, though, in an age of rapid change, effectiveness on the job is often far more important than tenure.

7. Weigh up your life balance

Your career will be greatly enhanced if your life as a whole is in balance. Work towards establishing harmony between your job and the following important life areas: health, spiritual and mental well-being, finances, social-recreation, and family-lifestyle.

8. Focus on your effectiveness.

In your quest to build career equity, effectiveness depends on all the other assets.

It also encompasses a wide range of components of your job including, for example, self-management, interpersonal communication skills, leadership style, motivational skills, time management, public speaking, chairing of meetings, and so on. And remember…

  • A successful year is the sum of successful months.
  • A successful month is the sum of successful weeks.
  • A successful week is the sum of successful days.
  • A successful day is the sum of successful hours.
  • A successful hour is the sum of successful habits.
  • In the end, successful habits provide the foundation for promotion.

Take time to analyse your assets in each of the eight categories listed, and then search for ways to improve in each one.

In a year’s time, not only will your effectiveness have been increased, but your career equity and promotional prospects will have been boosted as well.

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