Are you are stuck in your current position, or job, with little opportunity for advancement? Are you fed up waiting to move further up the career ladder?
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to either of these questions, then maybe it is time for you to re-evaluate your career prospects.
The type of company you work for can often determine the potential for your later promotion. Initially, when applying for any job, you should always seek out companies where there are clear opportunities for advancement. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a large organisation but it shouldn’t be a company with no prospects.
Obviously, you will need to convince your present employer that you are ready to take on greater responsibilities and your boss needs to see the added-value that you could bring to a higher position. That added-value could be experience, expertise, communication or other specific skills, a natural ability, enthusiasm, commitment or vision. Whatever you bring needs to make you stand out from the crowd and, with the inevitable competition, it is essential that you are able to do that.
This challenge requires careful planning and I suggest that you start thinking of yourself as a ‘product’. What is it about yourself that makes you ‘special’? What are the specific qualities that you can offer the company that would be to its benefit? Every organisation profits from the commitment and ability of its individual employees and it needs to exploit all the talent at its disposal. Is your talent being fully exploited? If not, then you need to make your boss, or departmental head, aware that you are able and qualified to take on additional responsibilities at a higher salary. It is your responsibility to ensure that your ambition and willingness to improve your status is known and recognised.
You need to make yourself indispensible to your department and willing to go that extra mile to show that you want the business to grow and you want to be part of that growth.
So let’s look at some tips to help you on your way:
Choose your timing
Make sure it is the right time to start this conversation. Don’t start it when your boss is frantically busy or stressed out!
Managers are busy people but they value ideas and creativity and someone who will think ‘outside of the box’. They appreciate an individual who is self-motivated and willing to volunteer for work opportunities that may arise but are outside of their normal job description. It may be useful to assist in the workload of someone in a senior role to yourself in order to demonstrate that you are capable of a similar position, if available.
Be Liked and admired
Promotions are not just based on merit and experience because office politics can also play a role. It is important to use and develop your people skills. Be helpful to your colleagues: take part in company events, network across the whole company and not just your department.
Acquire a mentor
This can be an informal role with a manager or someone higher up in your organisation. People usually like to be asked their opinion if it is valued and will often make time for you if they see that you are hungry for knowledge, learning and improvement. This very person could open doors for you that otherwise might have been closed and may be willing to support your application for promotion when the time is right.
Set realistic expectations
Be careful to set realistic expectations of yourself as you can easily take on responsibilities that may be beyond your current capabilities, and if you do, it can be a long, unprofitable journey back to base! However, if on one occasion you are passed over in the favour of a colleague, then think through as to why this was the outcome. Had you planned your strategy and developed your company profile adequately or had you not bothered to promote yourself and your skills?
You need to have a marketing strategy in place to ‘sell’ yourself because you are a product and those who you want to ‘buy’ you, need to be aware that you are there!
Prove yourself and offer added value. If you bring these to the table, I might just hire you myself!
— The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops.