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Take Control: 34 Tips To Help Get You Promoted At Work

From industry leaders and bosses…

In order to get a raise or promotion, employees should provide enough value to the company that it cannot afford to lose. Employees can become indispensable by gaining certifications that are important in the industry, implementing new programs, or being a great resource for other employees.

Managers will quickly notice when employees are helping their co-workers succeed because it shows dedication to the company as well as a willingness to help and teach which can be an asset for higher positions. Those who are indispensable can guarantee a better path for career growth.

Contributor: Jameson Slattery from colorescience.com

#1 Say you want a promotion

It's so small, but this is honestly the biggest thing. If you don't tell your manager that you're interested in a promotion, they might assume you don't want one (especially if there are others on your team who are more vocal about their ambitions). This doesn't have to be a big conversation; next time you're checking in with your manager, you can ask "I'm interested in advancing here. Do you have any advice on what I could be doing to be ready for the next step?"

Most managers like when their staff has a goal in mind: they usually want to help you develop and learn, but they're not mind readers, and making sure they know what you want will help them help you.

Contributor: Kim Stiens from ranavain.com

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#2 Be nice

Look, we all know that some workplaces cultures are cutthroat, but when you're looking to get into leadership positions, it's important to think about what kind of leader you want to be. 

Learn about servant leadership. Be kind and supportive to those around you. Don't pull the ladder up behind you. If you're both excellent at your job and excellent to others, people will start seeing you as a leader well before your title reflects it.

Contributor: Kim Stiens from ranavain.com

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#3 Look the part

If your goal is to be in the C-Suite, dress how the people doing the job you want to do dress. Lots of workplaces today are casual, which is wonderful for both morale and inclusion, but if your executives are wearing suits every day, dressing up just a bit more at work can help build the idea in their minds that you're one of them.

Contributor: Kim Stiens from ranavain.com

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#4 Go in early every day

One simple tip that leads toward a promotion at work is to go in early every day, specifically getting there before your boss. This shows a hard work ethic and commitment, that make you top of mind when promotion opportunities arise.

Contributor: Stacy Caprio from acceleratedgrowthmarketing.com

3 points
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#5 You've got be able to communicate well

If something is going to take longer than originally expected, make sure you can explain the delay so that your manager understands. No one likes surprises! 

It's also important to understand how things can be developed and improved. Make sure you're not just identifying problems, but recommending and implementing changes to benefit the business.

Contributor: Craig Barrass from andersonfrank.com

2 points
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#6 Do whatever work that you are given

I can not stress this enough. When your boss gives you some work and it does not fit into your job description, don't go and tell your boss that it isn't your job. On the contrary, find a way to do it.

For example, if your boss asks you to send a report in HTML format and you have no clue about HTML and it isn't your job to have a clue, don't go and tell that to your boss. Instead get an all-nighter crash course in HTML and do the task or get someone proficient in the code to do it for you. This tip also applies in case of your co-workers.

Your promotion depends on two things:

  1. Your boss pulling you up the rungs of the corporation
  2. Your co-workers not pulling you down.

As such, being helpful to your co-workers and doing stuff for them is a sure-fire way to prevent them from pulling you down when you are recommended for a promotion.

Contributor: Adhip Ray from winsavvy.com

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#7 Be prominent and maintain contacts

Getting to know your bosses and the rungs of the company is important if you want to be promoted first. And, it is also true vice-versa. You need to maintain contacts as well as increase your contacts. Then you need to do stuff for them, such as finishing their work without even being asked. This is a great way to get a promotion. 

When I worked as a law intern as a certain company, there were several rungs of interns with the top being intern in-charge. I became the intern in-charge within just two months of working there. That's four promotions in two months. Usually, the intern in-charge was people who interned in the company for at least a year.

Contributor: Adhip Ray from winsavvy.com

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#8 Bring solutions, not problems

Bosses and company leadership will take notice if, when challenged, you come to them with possible solutions and not just the problem. This shows a great deal of initiative on the part of the employee. It also shows you are someone who can be relied on to move things forward.

Contributor: Robin Schwartz, PHR from mfgjobs.com

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#9 You've got to own the job

Understand what they do, why it's important, and what effect it has on others in the business. That way you're not just delivering the basics, you're adding real value to your role.

Contributor: Craig Barrass from andersonfrank.com

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#10 Don’t be afraid of leadership

If the opportunity comes to head up a project or lead a team, take the plunge and have a go. Even if your endeavor isn’t totally successful, your bosses will respect you for trying – especially if you recognize where you could improve next time. This shows leadership qualities and the courage to take charge, which are traits that will count in your favor when going after a promotion.

Contributor: Steve Pritchard from cuuver.com

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#11 Make sure you keep learning

While doing the best you can at your tasks is always important, showing that you have taken it upon yourself to learn new skills or get a better understanding of the industry is a fantastic display of initiative and interest. It is also an obvious sign that you are keen to progress in the company you are in.

Contributor: Steve Pritchard from cuuver.com

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#12 Actively take on more responsibilities

Ask your manager if there are any other tasks you can get involved in, or if any other departments need a little assistance. Note, this should not interfere with your core duties as this will make you look irresponsible and unprepared, which will count against your application for a promotion. However, if you are able to make time for more work, it demonstrates a great ethic, a willingness to get involved and team skills.

Contributor: Steve Pritchard from cuuver.com

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#13 When you start a new position, treat your boss as a possible mentor

When you start a new position, treat your boss as a possible mentor. If your boss sees potential in you as an employee, they may try to mentor you.

It’s important to maintain a relationship with your boss that is professional and humble. Avoid acting like you know more about the job than your boss does or that you are not willing to learn new skills or to take their advice.

Surrounding yourself with a handful of experienced, successful mentors – ideally including your boss – will allow you to grow your career exponentially. Their guidance will be invaluable.

Contributor: Alexander Lowry from gordon.edu/graduate/finance

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#14 Remind your supervisor or boss of your strengths

One of the best tips to get promoted is to remind your supervisor or boss of your strengths. If you have a clear strength that stands out compared to a potential candidate for a job it's incredibly important to bring them up, keep them filled in for the work you have completed, as well as keeping a professional attitude and you will for sure be recognized for a raise or promotion over time.

Contributor: Michael Russell from ratchetstraps.com

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#15 Ask for challenging work

Talk to your boss about any interest you have in taking on new projects or new duties. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have enough to do at work but that you are an efficient employee who is ready for bigger challenges.

Contributor: Robin Schwartz, PHR from mfgjobs.com

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#16 Help others

When co-workers are struggling or come to you for assistance, don’t immediately shut them down and insist you don’t have the time. When you are willing to work with others on their issues and willing to lend a helping hand, leadership notices.

Contributor: Robin Schwartz, PHR from mfgjobs.com

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#17 Under promise, over deliver

Some people burn themselves out trying to stick to short, but unrealistic, deadlines. It's better to give yourself a longer date to finish, then finish on time or early (other things always seem to come up, so plan for unexpected projects).

Contributor: Shea Drake from Business.org

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#18 Show some empathy to everyone

Whether they're higher up, the same level, or lower than you, showing empathy to others shows that you're a team player who respects everyone else.

Contributor: Shea Drake from Business.org

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#19 Meet all deadlines

Always get an early start on projects so that the unexpected will not trip you up: Procrastination ruins careers! (And keep in mind that this is doubly-true in a team-based environment where colleagues rely upon your contributions in order to complete large projects!)

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. on LinkedIn

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#20 Spell-check and proof-read all written communication

Spell-check and proof-read all written communication (including e-mails) sent to bosses, colleagues, and all outsiders connected to the business. Your written communication reflects upon your competence, so punctuation and grammar do matter!

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. on LinkedIn

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#21 Ask questions

If you do not know something that's job-related, ask! (A question that should have been asked -- but wasn't -- can have catastrophic consequences that may never be forgotten.) And when you have made a mistake, admit it. Immediately. Do not wait to see if the boss has noticed. Most bosses are more observant than you may think they are.

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. on LinkedIn

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#22 Seek feedback

Tell your boss and your colleagues that you welcome constructive feedback so that you can continually improve your workplace performance. (And remember to thank them for their advice, and then use the feedback that you receive!)

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. on LinkedIn

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#23 Make yourself more valuable

Make yourself more valuable* to the organization by keeping your skills up-to-date. Take college business courses, attend conferences, seminars or webinars offered by professional societies in your field, and/or earn job-related professional certifications. 

Many organizations will contribute financially to your continuing education efforts, but you may have to ask about their requirements. And don't keep your self-improvement activities a secret. Don't brag, but do keep your boss informed about those activities.

Contributor: Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. on LinkedIn

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#24 Create a working portfolio

Prove you're ready for a promotion by documenting all your accomplishments within the company in an online portfolio and share it with your boss. Maintaining a cumulative list that details the successes of all recent work will demonstrate your value and commitment to the company in an objective, measurable manner that looks great when hoping for a promotion.

Contributor: Emily B from texashardmoneyfirst.com

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#25 Be engaged

Taking notes at meetings will not only help you better concentrate and retain information, it will also give the boss a physical sign that you're interested and involved the company. Asking questions and maintaining eye-contact while meeting face-to-face with management will demonstrate assertiveness and display your potential candidacy for promotion.

Contributor: Emily B from texashardmoneyfirst.com

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#26 Be proactive

Solve problems proactively and then go to your boss with the solution and result ready. Employers appreciate proactive problem solvers and when an opportunity for promotion arises they are the first people I think to promote.

Contributor: Jessica Hernandez from greatresumesfast.com

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#27 Be invested in your customer, client, or whoever it is that you serve

Authentic caring and a heart for what you do comes through loud and clear to employers. If I had to choose someone to promote and it was between someone who only did the bare minimum and punched the clock or someone who went above and beyond to treat my clients well I would (and have chosen) the person who goes the extra mile. As an employer, it's worth it every single time.

Contributor: Jessica Hernandez from greatresumesfast.com

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#28 Organize Team Events

An effective way to stand out to any manager is to own tasks that exceed job requirements, and organizing team events is a great way to do so. It shows a commitment to team-building and that you’re not just another cubicle robot, but rather, you’re human.

Managers appreciate any effort to boost team morale outside of the office and cultivate relationships that enhance team chemistry. If the entire team is happy, the manager is happy. Be the person responsible for cultivating office culture where everyone enjoys coming in. A promotion will surely follow.

Contributor: Sacha Ferrandi from hardmoneyfirst.com

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#29 Attend networking events

Proactively attending networking events is an easy way for an employee to convey dedication to his manager. Not only does it show a commitment to personal professional growth, but a commitment to the growth of the company.

Networking events are a great way to polish up on communication skills, expand networks and grow business. This makes any employee stand out to a manager. If it’s a neck-in-neck race for a promotion, networking events can provide the value needed to break the tie.

Contributor: Scott Crumrine from guavafamily.com

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#30 Be proactive with company roadblocks

It is important for new employees that want to climb “the ladder” to be hungry and solve office problems without direction. Every company has roadblocks and working to reduce those without being instructed to do so will greatly improve your chance of getting promoted.

Taking on company roadblocks not only shows your commitment to the company, but it also opens an opportunity for a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

Contributor: Antonella Pisani from factgoods.com

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#31 Earn the respect of your peers

Earning the respect of your superiors is extremely important for promotions. However, most workers forget that it is also equally important to earn the respect of your peers. People do not get promoted to lead a group of people that do not respect them. Being respected is a tell-tale sign that you are ready to lead and it is often the final “skill” that bosses look for when deciding if an employee is ready for a promotion.

Contributor: Antonella Pisani from factgoods.com

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#32 Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. 

Using the S.M.A.R.T. method makes goals easier to achieve and it makes your accomplishments easier to talk about. In performance reviews, you'll be able to show your employer that you can provide real value and earn that promotion.

Contributor: Emily Yutzy from accomplitrack.com

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#33 Look for ways to innovate

Companies are always looking for ways to improve standard operating procedures to increase efficiency. Innovation can be anything from implementing new tools for tracking outcomes, to creating new programs that will foster employee satisfaction. Even those ideas that seem small can have a great overall impact on the company’s operations. Employees who bring innovative ideas to their workplace will make a memorable impression on managers, increasing the chance of a raise or promotion.

Contributor: Jameson Slattery from colorescience.com

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#34 Make notes of your success

It can be easy to forget about those small improvements or wins employees have had throughout the months. Keeping a log of these successes, small improvements, and challenges overcame will help prepare employees for those quarterly or yearly reviews. Employees who are better prepared for reviews will be able to effectively showcase their value to the company, making them excellent candidates for promotions.

Contributor: Jameson Slattery from colorescience.com

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