How to Become Promotable in the Workplace

Take some basic steps to climb the corporate ladder.

Take some basic steps to climb the corporate ladder.

Whether your goal is to become company vice president, or to work your way up to a manager position, the way to get there is to demonstrate that you're capable and willing to do the job. Each workplace is different and may have individual guidelines for promotions, but you can do a number of things to put yourself in the best position possible to get a promotion.

Read the company's policy manual or any other written documentation to get a feel for what's okay and what's not. Make an effort to stay within the lines. The first way to pigeonhole yourself into the same old position is to seem like a rule-breaker -- unless of course, you work at a company that rewards those types of people.

Show up on time, and don't cut out early. You may not think other people notice, but coworkers and bosses do take note of who shows up early and who stays late, and who takes any opportunity to leave before the closing bell. Little things like that can add up, showing how committed you are to the job.

Keep a list of your accomplishments. Whether you've had a particularly successful sales month or you've completed your tasks in record time, make a note of it and keep it in a file. While your boss may congratulate you on the day that thing happens, he's not likely to remember it later on. By keeping track of your wins in a methodical manner, you'll have a list of things to share when it comes time to ask for the promotion.

Talk with other employees and superiors about their career paths. People in positions that you want may offer valuable advice about how they got there, schools they attended, or trainings they took to get their job. Likewise, use LinkedIn or other social networks to research former employees, to check out their backgrounds and the training they received to get their jobs.

Bend the boss's ear. While it's important not to seem like a kiss-up, establishing a good rapport with your boss is certainly not going to hurt. Ask for one-on-one time periodically, so that you can talk about your performance and get ideas for doing a better job. This shows you're willing to work on self-improvement, and have the resources to find out how to accomplish it. If your company has a formal review process, take the feedback seriously and do what you can to implement any recommended changes.

Talk with the human resources department to find out if there are other choices you can be making to move you up to the next level. The HR manager may know about career advancement classes or other opportunities that can prepare you for the next step. They may even help you develop a career outline that details how you'll accomplish your goals.

Sign up for work-related committees or volunteer positions, such as the office improvement committee or steering committee. While these positions take extra work, joining groups such as these demonstrate to the bosses that you're committed to the company and are willing to go the extra mile -- something they'll likely want to see.

Tip

  • If you get passed over for a promotion the first time, stay positive, don't badmouth the person who got promoted over you, and keep applying for those higher positions. According to a 2012 report in "The Guardian," employers like to see that a person is persistent. If you don't get the job the first time, keep trying.
 

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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