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How to get promoted by the end of the year

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Missing out on a promotion can be devastating. Having completed every task on time, and performed to the best of your ability for as long as you can remember, it can often feel like your boss just has favourites; that your chances of stealing the spotlight are slim. But don’t lose hope just yet.

In most cases, there’s more you can do to move to the next level. Remember, climbing the career ladder takes commitment. It may not happen overnight, but if you are to secure a promotion above your colleagues before the end of the year, the time to act, is now.

1. Leave nothing to chance

Rather than leaving your possible promotion to fate, ask your line manager what it will take to secure a role in the next tier of the business. There’s no harm in asking for guidance, so don’t hesitate to request a clear set of actionable points, that you can refer back to in order to track your progress.

Perhaps this includes becoming more involved with other departments; taking on extra responsibility or broadening your knowledge in a particular area. By asking which results must be accomplished in order to achieve a promotion, both you and your manager can measure your success.

2. Be a team player

Actively building relationships with your colleagues and superiors will help to increase visibility, so don’t miss an opportunity to help out where you can. Taking on extra work to support the wider business objectives will serve to demonstrate your willingness and determination to achieve goals and move beyond your comfort zone, but beware - volunteering to take on tasks outside of your remit will only reflect well if your own workload does not suffer.

Should you prioritise someone else’s work before your own, your manager will quickly notice a dip in team productivity and only you will be to blame.

3. Share your achievements

Recording and sharing your achievements is critical, if you are to progress to the next level. After all, it’s these accomplishments that will form the body of your case, when pushing for that promotion. While modesty is usually considered a desirable attribute, playing down your results will rarely secure you a seat at the table.

Instead, keep a clear record of projects completed and ensure to include quantifiable details such as how many, how often or how much and define a plan for increasing results.

If you’re aiming for a move by the end of the year, have a conversation with your manager early on, to explain the goals you have already achieved and to set your intentions for the foreseeable future.

4. Widen your skill-set

Once you determine what will best position you for the next round of promotions, seek out those skills to add to your tool-belt. For example, if the job you’re angling for is a role within management, you might find a course after work that provides training and development in leading a team.

Alternatively, the skills you need may lie in the digital realm; they could be learned through an online platform that you complete between core tasks. Perhaps you simply need to sharpen your attention to detail through constant practice, or maybe you need to learn how to overcome failure: these soft skills should not be ignored, as often it is these that help you to set you apart from your peers.

5. Stand out from the crowd

Making your presence known in a larger company can be a challenge, but, in order to showcase your skills and demonstrate your value, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd.   

Of course, it doesn’t take a ridiculous stunt, a wacky haircut or a clown costume to get you noticed. (These efforts will likely have the opposite effect.) Instead, take every opportunity to represent your department in staff-wide meetings or presentations. Rather than sitting in the corner watching the clock, take these opportunities to add something of value to the conversation.

It need not even be a solution to a problem at this point (although that would certainly work in your favour.) Even just a useful contribution will show your commitment to the company: a must-have for any employee with their eyes on the prize.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information.