It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at work. You know the drill: Every day ends up feeling like Groundhog Day. Well, there’s no point in simply wishing for things to change, because the only person who can make it happen is you. So it’s time to raise your hand in those meetings and speak up before you’re asked to. Remember, you’re not a failure if you don’t make it; you’re a success because you try. Take charge of your career with these simple tips to demonstrate to your boss the potential he/she hired you for.
There’s no point in asking for a promotion if you don’t know enough about the position you’d be moving into. If you really want it, then you have to do your homework. What are the role requirements? What new skills will you bring? How will you improve upon the position? When you finally have that meeting, a well-planned and tailored approach will capture your boss’s attention and prove you really care about the future of the business.
OK, so this isn’t really something new, but we simply couldn’t leave it out. Being very good at your job isn’t the only thing you should be focused on. In fact, it only gives your boss more reason to leave you where you are, because promoting you means replacing you. So when you sit down at your desk, try to push the limits of your work; think of better ways to do your job or how you can improve the department. Be sure to write them down and make the suggestions to your boss. Even if they aren’t always implemented, the initiative will be recognised and appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to approach professionals in the field you want to be promoted to. Not everyone you ask will be open to it, but you’ll be surprised at how many will be happy, even flattered, that you came to them for advice. Mentorship is crucial for career progression, but it can take time to find the right one, and they could turn up in the most unlikely of places. Strike up conversations with interesting people around the office, at business events or meetings, and even outside the workplace at your local beauty salon or doctor’s office. There’s always something to learn or valuable connections you can make.
Upskill, people, upskill. After you’ve been in the role a few years, it’s so easy to become complacent. Show your superior you need a challenge, and enroll yourself in some extra study or training. It’s not always easy to find the time, but the rewards are really worth it. Ask your boss about any training programs already available—you might be surprised. Some companies even pay for their employees’ extra tuition.
We asked a few bosses we know, and a collective pet peeve was people who come to work and just do the status quo. These employees don’t go above and beyond their role or help out when extra hands are needed; they simply do their job and clock off when time’s up. While it’s good to be focused and ensure your tasks are completed, it’s also really important to show you’re part of the team and contribute to the company.
It sounds simple, but this is probably one of the single-most important things you could do to get your boss’s attention. When it comes down to it, your boss is busy running a business, and when he/she needs something done, you should try to be the first person to put your hand up. Making your superior’s life easier is going to put you in good stead come promotion time. This proves you’re ready for extra responsibilities, to step into a bigger role, and to receive a bigger paycheck.
Turn up for work dressed for the job you want, not the job you have. We’re not just talking about the clothes, either—although they are important—but your overall appearance, which should be clean and polished. Whether you’re going for a senior position in a corporate company or you’re just hoping to take the next step from a junior to area-manager role, take a look at the people already in that position and mimic their look.
Take a look around your workplace: Is there a strategic gap that needs filling? Are you the person to fill that gap? Sometimes your superior is too busy to notice how the office could be streamlined or when a new role could increase productivity and workflow. If you do recognise this gap, then craft a proposal and pitch the new position to your boss. It’s a win-win, because even if they don’t go for it, you’ve shown initiative and a keen eye for developing new ideas, both of which your boss will remember when promotion time rolls around.
We get it; talking about yourself is hard, and most of us resent doing it, but there’s a difference between being honest about your skills and just talking yourself up. It might be challenging, but you can’t expect your boss to believe in you if you don’t, right? We suggest keeping a notepad handy to write down your work achievements and strengths each day. It can be anything from how many stories you wrote to products you sold, or customers you served and any feedback they gave you. Just imagine the self-satisfaction you’ll feel when you look back on that list at the end of each week? If you feel good about it, your boss will too.
We know it can be scary putting yourself out there, but too often this common fear of rejection holds us back from achieving our dreams. So many of us are paralysed by fear, but it doesn’t have to be that way. According to Susan Jeffers, who wrote the phenomenal self-help classic Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, all you have to do to diminish that fear is develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. If you knew you could handle anything, what would you possibly have to fear? So when you’re about to head into that meeting or you want to discuss a new business idea with your boss, don’t be a shrinking violet; just repeat these three very important words: I’ll handle it.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers ($11)
What have you done to prove you're promotion-ready? Did your boss notice you and give you a raise? We’d love to hear your story—share it in the comments below.