Many companies are laying people off and slowing – or halting – their hiring as we progress through 2023. Getting promoted becomes much more critical to stand out at work and secure your position.
Getting promoted is exciting, and it comes with a host of perks: more money, more influence, and more control over your daily tasks. But getting promoted can be trickier than you might think, especially when layoffs and hiring freezes abound.
While the final decision is out of your hands, there are many steps you can take to better your odds. Being proactive and strategic go a long way.
Here are 9 tips for getting promoted at work. Follow these and make your life that much easier!
First: A Little Context
The economic times we’re experiencing in 2023 present a unique set of circumstances.
Firstly, there’s inflation. The annual inflation rate as of February 2023 is 6.0%, still extremely high but down from its peak of 9.1% in July 2022 and an 8.0% average inflation rate for the year 2022. Inflation is slowing as the Fed continues to increase interest rates – currently 5.0% – which is good, right?
Yes and no. In March 2023, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed when its consumers got wind of financial difficulty and made a run on the bank. As interest rates increase, bond prices fall, so SVB – and other banks who poured large sums into US Government Bonds during times of near-zero interest – saw great erosion in their portfolios.
Other major banks, including US bank First Republic and Swedish bank Credit Suisse, are experiencing similar difficulties, signaling a potential bank stability problem and subsequent recession.
Increasing interest rates is great for slowing inflation, but it’s tough on banks, so the Fed is in a tight spot. Does it continue to raise rates to curb inflation when the banks are in a state of peril? Or does it pause interest hikes for now, let inflation continue to run rampant, and let banks recover? Both options have serious economic ramifications.
Although the US government stepped in to guarantee deposits in SVB, the larger question remains. Experts aren’t sure if this a signal of an institutional bank failure that could plunge the economy deep into recession, but it could be.
Since we’re in a period of wait and see, employers are taking a cautious approach for now, especially in the tech sector. They’re uncertain about what the future holds regarding growth, revenue, and raising or borrowing capital.
For all these reasons, securing your job and working towards a promotion matters now more than ever, and we’ll help you figure out how to do that.
9 Tips for Getting Promoted
Here are 9 tips that will help you on your journey toward getting promoted at work.
Tip 1: Plan in Advance
Getting promoted requires forethought, so talk with your boss as soon as the thought crosses your mind. If you’re worried your job is at risk, now’s the time to have this conversation and see when you might be up for a promotion – or what you can do to become eligible soon.
Allow six to nine months’ heads up for your boss to monitor your progress under the pretense of a promotion. Remember that getting promoted too quickly can set you up for failure, so trust the process.
Getting promoted at work means meeting – and exceeding – expectations. Once you’re there, you can mention promotion to your boss, and you should continue to bring it up regularly. Here are some ways to do that:
- Mention promotion and ask if you’re on that trajectory during regular one-on-ones with your manager.
- After achieving an important goal, and receiving praise for it, remind your manager of promotion and ask about your progress.
- During performance reviews, analyze if you’re on the path to promotion.
With a bit of planning, getting promoted becomes that much easier.
Tip 2: Make Your Boss’ Job Easier
Unsurprisingly, getting promoted is about making your boss’ life more manageable. Consider the work they’re doing, and consistently seek to alleviate it.
Practically, this means performing at a high enough level that your boss trusts you and can focus on their career. They can delegate to you, know that work will be done exceptionally well, and turn their attention to new projects that allow them to stand out.
Tip 3: Own Things From Start to Finish
Promotions at work require proving that you can own projects from start to finish. This means developing ideas, pitching them, and executing them until implementation.
Many times, people are too distracted with various tasks and ideas. Instead, be the person who can hone in on the best idea and bring it to the finish line. Doing so will help you stand out.
Tip 4: Constantly Work on Improving
The higher-ups at your organization got there because they constantly improved. Self-improvement requires intentionality, so make it a focus.
High-performing employees are different from high-potential employees in that both people do their work exceptionally well. The difference is that high-potential employees understand their weaknesses and work to improve them.
Think deeply about your strengths and weaknesses, and work on improving any weak areas. This will require stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Self-improvement should be in the form of both interpersonal and technical skills.
Tip 5: Work Towards the Bigger Picture
Getting promoted requires the understanding that everything you do feeds into the bigger picture. This understanding allowed your boss and their boss to get where they are. Think strategically about how what you do can impact the overall company.
Big-picture thinking means being strategic. This means not only executing on the day-to-day but understanding how processes can be improved.
Further, you’ll want to deeply understand organizational culture and act in a way that embodies it.
If your company is feeling the effects of uncertain economic times, mention that you’re aware of this and ask what you can do to help. If you aren’t sure, ask. Thinking about the bigger economic picture and contextualizing your priorities is an excellent way to stand out.
Tip 6: Document Achievements
Remember that getting promoted is a lengthy, multi-month process. Throughout this time, you’ll have various achievements, some of which you may forget as the weeks turn into months.
Document your work. You can take time at the end of each week to reflect on what you did and what impact that had. Any time you make a measurable impact, take note. Specify exactly what impact your work had, with numbers if possible.
Tip 7: Always Ask For Feedback
Remember how we mentioned the importance of constantly improving? Asking for feedback is an excellent way to do this.
Getting promoted as efficiently as possible means asking everyone for feedback. Try to understand your strengths and weaknesses as others see them, and ask for ways to improve.
You should also be experienced in giving others feedback, whether they’re your boss or coworker. There’s an art to giving feedback, and the higher up you go, the better at it you’ll need to be.
Tip 8: Work Well With Others
Getting promoted and climbing the corporate ladder require working with a wide range of people. Great bosses are that way because they get along well with many individuals and can adapt to various working styles.
Further, by working cohesively with others, you build strong relationships. Your boss doesn’t make a promotion decision in a vacuum; often, there are others whose opinions are considered for your promotion.
Treat people with respect, do what you say you will, and aim to resolve any disputes amicably.
Tip 9: Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Promotions at work mean you’re stepping into a role you may not be 100% ready for. Getting promoted is exciting, and the prep you’ve been doing will prepare you enough, but you can’t anticipate everything.
Climbing the corporate ladder is inherently uncomfortable at times. The better you embrace that, the more prepared you’ll be for a promotion.
In your current role, actively seek to be outside your comfort zone. What pitch, project, or contribution can you make that feels uncomfortable? The more you flex this muscle, the greater your comfort zone becomes.
Sometimes, You Need to Look Externally
If you feel you’ve proved yourself at your current company but aren’t getting promoted, it’s time to look elsewhere. Not all companies value upward trajectory; sometimes, you need to switch organizations to climb the ladder.
Additionally, if you’re worried your job is at risk, developing a relationship with an executive recruiter will give you options. They’ll take the time to get to know your career goals and can step in to help you quickly land a new job should you lose your current one.
Jennings Executive specializes in matching exceptional talent with exceptional organizations. Our 10+ years of experience mean we’re well-equipped to help you land your dream position at another company. Learn more today!