Promotion is a common goal among many professionals. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, taking on a higher-level job with more responsibility, a bigger salary, and added recognition is a great way to move up in the corporate ranks and make strides in your career.
But how do you get promoted? Is it just a matter of hard work and showing up on time? Or is there more to it?
The answer is multifaceted.
In this article, we’ll delve into the details of how to get promoted, from the types of promotions you can get to the steps you should take to make it happen. We’ll also talk about the Headway app and how downloading it can help spur your professional and personal self-development journey.
There are several types of promotions in the working world, each involving different career moves.
People get promotions at work in many ways, and there’s no single path to success.
Exhibiting your professional value is essential for being considered for a job promotion.
Sometimes, all you need to do to get the ball rolling is to ask.
Defining promotions and their types
Most people are familiar with the concept of a promotion — advancement in one’s current job or to a higher-level position in the same organization — but there are several types.
The two main promotion categories are internal promotions, which involve moving up to a different position within the same company, and external promotions, which involve transferring to a new organization.
Within those two categories are four main types of promotions, which are as follows:
1. Dry promotions
A dry promotion (sometimes referred to as a lateral move) is a change from one position to another at the same level. It allows employees to gain more experience and varied responsibilities but doesn’t come with added benefits like a higher salary. Employers commonly use dry promotions to test an individual’s readiness for a more advanced role.
2. Horizontal promotions
A horizontal promotion is an upward move that doesn’t change one’s level in the hierarchy. This type of promotion is often used to reward hardworking and dedicated employees who have been with the company for a long time. It involves giving them a salary increase and other forms of recognition but doesn’t involve any major changes in job responsibilities.
3. Vertical promotions
A vertical promotion is the most common type and likely what you think of when you hear the word. It is the move from one level to another and usually comes with more responsibility, recognition, and a higher salary. Vertical promotions can occur within or across a company’s departments — the move just needs to involve a higher-level job than the one you currently have.
4. Open or closed promotions
Open and closed promotions are a unique advancement opportunity where an employer allows staff to apply for a higher-paying role. This often happens when companies have a vacancy to fill but don’t want to extend their search to the broader job market.
An ‘open promotion’ means that the application call is open to all employees and is decided by an internal selection process. On the other hand, a ‘closed promotion’ only includes a pre-selected group of staff members who have been identified as having the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills for the job.
How to get promoted
While most people want to get promoted, not everyone knows how to make it happen. Promotions can enter your life in a number of different ways, some planned and others unexpected. Ultimately, the fastest path to ascending the ranks is with a clear intention to do so and an action plan to get there.
Here are seven of the most impactful things you can do to get promoted:
1. Know and highlight your accomplishments
Making yourself a viable candidate for promotion starts with recognizing and learning how to convey your value as a professional. What have you done to make a lasting impact in your current role? Are there any accomplishments you can point to as evidence of your skill or potential for the next level?
Promotions are very transactional for employers — they want to know what they will receive in return for the promotion, so make sure you do your part to show them what they’ll get by investing in you. Important things to highlight include awards, finished projects, or any accolades you’ve earned. It can also be really helpful to narrow down quantifiable records of your performance, such as the number of customers serviced or the percentage increase in sales, to strengthen your case.
2. Network with the right people
While it may not be entirely fair, the saying ‘it’s all about who you know’ rings true in the world of business. People often get promoted (or at least get a helping hand along the way) because of connections they have made in the industry.
Take care to establish relationships with more experienced colleagues currently occupying the positions you aspire to. Mentors can be your most powerful allies when getting promoted, as they can provide invaluable guidance and advice on developing the skills and qualities you need for the job.
It can also be worth reaching out to HR or senior staff in the company who may be in a position to greenlight your promotion. When making connections, ensure your focus is on how you can help them, not what they can do for you.
3. Dress the part
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, especially when it comes to promotional opportunities. You will instantly be overlooked for the next level if you present yourself in an unprofessional manner.
Make sure to dress appropriately for the job you are applying for and that your appearance is well-kept.
How you dress will depend on the specific industry you work in, but you’ll want your outfit to be appropriate and look like someone who would be a successful addition to the team.
Consider your current presentation and how it lines up with expectations. What looks ‘polished’ at your workplace? If there’s a basic dress code, you should be following it. If everyone is expected to wear uniforms, then yours should always be clean and neat. While it may seem superficial, taking the time to ensure you always look the part can effectively paint a positive picture of yourself as a candidate for promotion.
4. Invest in your personal and professional growth
Promotions usually require employees to demonstrate strong competencies and the potential to grow. So why not invest in your own?
Learning new things is a great way to increase your chances of getting promoted and make yourself more valuable to the company. Attend workshops, courses, and other learning opportunities to help you gain new skills and knowledge relevant to your current or desired role.
Some employers offer tuition reimbursement and other incentives to help employees advance their careers. If this is something that your company provides, take advantage of it and make it known that you are serious about growing your skills.
Of course, formal courses aren’t the only way to broaden your horizons. Online resources (particularly books) are excellent places to turn for insight. Written by experts in the field, these can offer a wealth of knowledge that you can use to sharpen your skills and stay ahead of the curve.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to read anything cover-to-cover to benefit from the insight of a career growth book. Apps like Headway offer fun, bite-sized summaries of books with key takeaways that you can apply to your life immediately without committing to a lengthy read. This is a great option for busy professionals who want to invest in their self-growth but don’t have the time to do so conventionally. Download Headway today and see how easy learning can be.
5. Go above and beyond
So, you want to get a promotion. What have you done to demonstrate that you deserve one? While some might say fulfilling your existing job duties is enough, the reality is that employers favor employees who go the extra mile.
Take on tasks nobody else is willing to do, and find ways to make yourself indispensable. This could be anything from taking the initiative to finding solutions to a difficult problem to volunteering for extra responsibilities and taking on new challenges.
Whatever the initiative, make sure your supervisor — or whoever else will be making the decision — is aware of your efforts and accomplishments. Highlight what you have done, and make it clear that you are ready and willing to take on more.
Going the extra mile shows passion for your job and an enthusiasm to take on more responsibility. It requires extra work, but it is worth it if you truly want that promotion. It could be the thing that sets you apart from other candidates and gets you to the next level.
6. Exhibit strong leadership skills
Employers highly value leadership qualities, so you must demonstrate them if you want to get promoted.
Think about taking the initiative, showing respect to colleagues, being organized, and managing time efficiently. You will also need to take accountability for your mistakes and not point fingers when things don’t go right.
You can show these skills in the workplace by volunteering for projects, offering ideas and suggestions on improving processes, and leading by example.
It also helps if you’re able to motivate your colleagues to do their best work. Show that you have strong communication skills and let people know you have what it takes to be a leader.
7. Just ask!
Managers aren’t mind readers. They’ve got their own jobs, responsibilities, and career development to focus on and likely won’t be thinking about yours all the time. That’s why you need to be proactive and speak up — sometimes, all it takes is directly asking for what you want.
The key is having a well-thought-out idea of how you would do the job, what particular skills and experience you bring to it, and why you are the best person. Having a plan ready to go will strengthen your case and put you ahead of the competition.
If appropriate, you can even provide a timeline for when you would like to be considered for the promotion. You may want to start with smaller, achievable goals that will lead toward the big promotion, such as taking on additional responsibilities and growing in your current role. Many employers are happy to see such initiative and will be honest with you about how you can progress at the company.
Wrapping things up
Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic trick that will guarantee you a job promotion. Career advancement is case-by-case, and not everyone has the same path. However, following the steps we’ve outlined above can certainly give you an edge. It’s about taking the initiative, exhibiting strong leadership skills, and showing value to your organization. The power is in your hands — so what are you waiting for? Go out there and make it happen.
Headway is here for you in your journey of professional growth. Download the app today!
How can I get promoted quickly?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting promoted quickly. However, there are certain steps you can take to increase your chances, such as taking the initiative and exhibiting strong leadership qualities. Additionally, having a well-thought-out plan for how you would do the job and why you are the best person for it can help strengthen your case.
How long is too long without a promotion?
That depends on the job and industry you’re in. Generally speaking, it’s probably been long enough if you feel stuck in a rut and have gone as far as possible with your current position. It can also be helpful to speak with your manager or HR department to understand the expectations and what kind of timeline they’re working with.
Should I quit if I don’t get promoted?
It’s always best to exhaust all avenues before deciding to quit. Speak with your manager to understand why it hasn’t happened yet and what steps you can take to increase your chances.