Being appreciated and rewarded in a workplace can sometimes feel as good as a new job, but many of us find ourselves in a rut and unsure how to progress to that next level. And the thought of asking for a promotion can be anxiety inducing even for confident, senior career professionals.
But with progress and job satisfaction a key to career happiness, it is imperative to drive your own success because there’s no one else that can do it for you.
Make your manager “redundant”
Not literally! Rather, take on additional roles and responsibilities to cement yourself as integral to the team’s success. Constantly ‘manage up’ because employees that show initiative and make their manager’s jobs a whole lot easier always get recognised. Ask questions to help anticipate what jobs need to be done then allocate yourself some time to complete these. When troubleshooting, think through problems and always present solutions. To really excel here, ask what’s keeping your manager up at night then offer up solutions to help solve their problems.
One thing to watch out for, however, is don’t not to extend yourself to the point that you drop the ball on your own work.
If you can demonstrate that you can juggle workload, prioritise tasks, problem solve and perform at their level, then what’s stopping them from giving you the title to formalise it.
Grow your knowledge
The thought of managing full-time work and study can be overwhelming to most, but we can never stop learning and rest on our laurels, we’ll become stagnant in the workplace. We constantly need to regenerate our smarts and upskill in order to stay relevant and on top of our game. Further education is at the heart of this. It is a tangible way to fill the gaps in your knowledge and give you the confidence to progress to the next level. Whether it is industry specific skills or management skills, education solidifies your abilities and arms you with tools to grow as a professional.
Taking on additional study doesn’t have to be challenging. Online providers such as Open Colleges allow you to navigate coursework to fit your lifestyle, deciding how, when and where you study and sit exams.
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
Dressing appropriately may seem like a minor thing, but so many people still get it wrong – short or un-stitched hemlines, un-iron shirts, visible bra straps, scuffed shoes, the list goes on. Dressing appropriately will not only improve your confidence in the office, it will help people visualise you in a more senior role. Invest in tailoring if you can, and an ironed shirt doesn’t have mean you lose your Sunday pre-pressing a week’s worth of clothes. Invest in a decent iron and put the alarm on 5 minutes earlier in the morning to give your shirt a once over before you leave the house.
Take ownership of your progression
No one will drive your career but you, so taking ownership of your progression is necessary. Blindsiding your manager with the ‘ask’ can be overwhelming and confronting for both you and your manager, and won’t necessarily achieve the desired outcome. Rather than catching them off guard, plan your approach.
Arrange a meeting with your manager to understand your strengths and where you need to improve. Discuss what needs to be achieved in order to secure a promotion then set clear goals for yourself. Share these with your manager and proactively track your progress together. When discussing your progression, be armed with tangible evidence of how you’ve achieved your goals – facts, sales figures, cost savings, etc.
Nervous about asking for a promotion or a pay rise? What’s the worst they can say, no? At least you’ve demonstrated your ambition and hunger for success.
Celebrate the success
Remember the old saying out of sight, out of mind? It rings true. It is important to know that beating your own drum is not necessarily a bad thing. Sharing your wins with everyone around you can help them understand the scale of your achievements and let them know that you’re a great asset to the entire team. Success can range from great client feedback to graduating from further study, landing some new business or delivering ahead of schedule and under budget. This will remind your manager and other team members that you truly go above and beyond and your hard work needs to be rewarded in order to reel in more victories.
By applying these guidelines for success, securing a promotion will be made easier and can be seen in the near future.
Christina Shenouda initially started her career in law and transitioned to education and training 10 years ago. Christina has worked within a broad range of sectors within the education industry, including vocational education and training, multiple top-ranking universities and corporate learning and development functions in financial services, as an Educator, Leader, Project Manager and in learning design. She is a passionate educator at heart, and an advocate for lifelong learning. Christina holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), Bachelor of Law, Masters of Law and Masters of Adult Education.