No matter how much you like your job, chances are a time will come when you want more. Adding responsibilities, challenges, and the accompanying income and stature is the natural next step in your career. But how do you make it happen? Here are six tips to position yourself for a promotion.
Be a team player
One of the best ways to showcase your leadership potential is to consistently support the growth of your co-workers and teammates. Collaborate whenever possible by offering to help others and sharing information that can strengthen their contributions and that of your team as a whole. Show that you value their input by asking their opinions, acknowledging when they have a better way—and following through on their recommendations. Offer to mentor less-experienced team members and help them develop new skills. If you’re singled out for recognition, be sure to share the credit with the rest of the team.
Go the extra mile
When there’s additional work to be done, be one of the first to step up, even for the less glamorous tasks. Managers will appreciate your commitment and your initiative. Volunteer to serve on committees and task forces. You’ll increase your visibility, gain a more strategic perspective, and maybe even identify other departments where your skills could make a difference.
Communicate your goals
Let people know you’re interested in moving up—that you want to learn more and play a bigger role in the organization’s success. One of the best times to discuss your goals, and how to achieve them, is during your formal review with your manager or supervisor. Take your manager’s words to heart and use them to develop and demonstrate the skills that will help you advance.
Be professional and positive
Skills and experience are essential—but not enough to get you a promotion on their own. To advance to the next level, you also need to project the right attitude and image. The higher your position, the more important it is that you can be counted on to represent the values and strength of the organization. Build a reputation as someone who seeks to solve problems rather than dwell on them. Be respectful, even of colleagues you may not like. Most of all, time and again, demonstrate that you are an asset to your team, your department and the entire organization.
Network within and outside your organization
Every interaction is an opportunity to start building and solidifying professional relationships that can pay off in myriad ways. Make it a point to stay connected with colleagues after short-term group projects are complete. Attend work-related functions, and join professional organizations. Seek out potential mentors and others who can serve as a sounding board and a source of constructive advice. The more you know—and are known—the more likely people will alert you to openings and recommend you to others.
Commit to continuing education
Every field is constantly changing—and it’s up to you to stay in the know. Fortunately, today there are more educational offerings than ever, and many organizations will pay for you to attend conferences and seminars. Many will also help cover education expenses for work-related certifications or advanced degrees. You can also take advantage of free online courses and educational podcasts. If you keep learning and growing, you’ll be better positioned for promotions and other opportunities. Equally important, you’ll be more likely to remain engaged and proficient in your area of expertise.
As a Clarkson graduate, you have access to a full suite of services from the Clarkson Career Center at any stage of your professional life. William Jeffers, assistant director of professional and alumni career services, focuses exclusively on providing career support for Clarkson alumni and graduate students. And, if your goals include earning an advanced degree, Clarkson offers high-caliber graduate programs in business, engineering, education, health professions and the sciences. For more information, contact Graduate Admissions.