Competitiveness does not end with winning a job. Once you're established in your position and you begin to think of the next move up the ladder, you might find yourself back in the game.
Being inside a company can be either an advantage as you have better knowledge and control; or a disadvantage as your employer may not give you the benefit of the doubt if you've not already proven the required skills for the move.
That's why if you get passed over for a promotion, you need to take a realistic look into how you managed your aspirations for your career advancement within your company rather than blaming the situation on favouritism or bad luck. Excelling at your current position doesn't necessarily entail a promotion. On the contrary, some managers might just opt to leave a person in their position for their own peace of mind. Winning a higher position is not less work than job hunting. It requires dedicated efforts in presenting yourself and your skills and communicating a message on how you can fulfill the requirements for the opening. Here are a few tips to consider:
Are you qualified?
Wishful thinking aside, you need to have an honest answer for this question. Match your previous and current experience with the job requirements and highlight the gaps. If you find yourself falling short on the technical requirements, try to get training as soon as possible and don't wait to win the job first. Employers would like to see you take a step or two to prove you're serious about the move. In the meantime, don't overlook social and people skills which are essential if you're looking for a management position. While everyone may run into occasional problems, an employee who is in constant war with others will be the least likely to be selected as a manager.
Performing your job pretty well is a proof that you're reliable, hardworking and efficient; and you might be selected for a promotion if there is no one else around. However if you don't want to leave it to luck, position yourself as the best option among possible rivals. One way to do so is to go beyond your job description into the role you're seeking. You have to show that you've got what it takes to perform the job. Without stepping on anyone's toes, present your knowledge in forms of volunteering to help, suggesting ideas or just by being proactive in new projects that carry weight for the company.
Just as it matters when you go to a job interview, appearance is an undeniable factor in positioning yourself for a possible promotion. It is not limited though to being presentable, a professional look and a positive attitude can go a long way in putting you ahead of others who have become complacent with their jobs. Pay particular attention to your appearance if the promotion may require client contact, attending business meetings, etc.
Make a statement
In formal appraisals or whenever the opportunity arises, mention to your supervisors your expectations and ambition for promotion. To avoid any confusion, have a solid plan that you're able to lay out and explain. You need to remain positive through the process of explaining why you think you've earned it. Never threaten to quit or wage a personal attack on a potential rival.
Promotion decisions are often made on various corporate layers. If your achievements are not communicated to higher management on a regular basis, you may find your advancement is being obstructed. If you believe that your immediate supervisor or boss is in your way, address the issue formally with him/her before taking it up with the human resources department. Don't rush down this road unless you're pretty certain. The last thing you need while you're positioning for a promotion is to look paranoid.
It is sometimes difficult to predict what might be in your way of advancement. For instance, a recent survey done by recruitment website www.careerbuilder.com found that 28 per cent of the surveyed hiring managers in the US are less likely to promote a worker with a disorganised or a messy desk. They said that even if workers are actually working on multiple projects with positive results, workplace clutter is causing them to have a negative view of them. The whole thing reflects how these decisions are partially based on individual perceptions.
How to sell yourself in a job interview
- Be prepared for the next move up.
- Assess your qualifications as objectively as possible.
- Take initiative and market your skills.
- Check for behavioural obstacles.
- Ensure your accomplishments are being recognised.
The writer, a former Business Features Editor at Gulf News, is a freelance journalist based in Salt Lake City, Utah.