Getting promoted is most likely the best thing that can happen to you at your job (assuming it’s accompanied by a raise). If you have a list of goals that you want to accomplish at your company, it is probably not only number one, but bolded, underlined, and highlighted.
Taking this one step further — because it’s such an important goal — there is always somebody looking for a way to get ahead at any given moment. Obviously, not everybody is looking in the right direction, or we would all be working at the same position for the same pay. The question then becomes: How do I make myself stand out and put myself in a position to get promoted?
While I can’t give you a magical formula to get you instantly promoted, I can suggest three ways to help you answer the question I posed above. They are the following:
Take advantage of training
There is usually some kind of training program at most jobs. This training could involve various certifications, classes internal to your company, or even higher education such as graduate school. Also, this training is many times offered for free or at a much reduced cost (such as your company paying for your graduate credits). Basically, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t take advantage of programs like these. The only thing it can do is help your career.
Even if taking a certain class or getting a particular certification won’t help you immediately, it might help you get that role that you really want in the future. Another plus when utilizing company offered training is that you can fit it around your work schedule very easily, since that what’s it’s designed for. Remember this: More skills lead to more opportunities which lead to a wide range of work experience which gives you the edge over your competition.
Volunteer when possible
“Wear Jeans to Save the Whales Day.” “The Holiday Party.” “St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour.” Do these kinds of activities sound familiar?
At pretty much every workplace there are activities such as these occurring on a daily basis. Who puts these events together? One hint: It’s not the Keebler Elves.
In actuality, it’s volunteers that make these events possible. Sure, they have a regular position in the company, but they work on these things on the side. The advantage to this can be summed up in one word: Visibility. Your name gets out to a lot more people in the company than it normally would, as these events are held for more than just the people in your immediate work group. Not only does your name get out there, but it gets out to people at levels you might not normally have the ability to reach (such as a partner or senior executive).
When it comes down to crunch time, and a group of people who have most likely never met you are deciding who to promote, you want your name to stick out. “Oh Kevin? Didn’t he put together that ice cream social? That was a lot of fun.” This is much better than “Kevin? Which one? Do we have a Kevin working for us?”
Attend networking events
Sometimes the last thing you want to do is go and hang out with the people you work with everyday. This is completely understandable, however here’s the only piece of advice that I can give you: Suck it up. Bite the bullet and go for an hour. Lot’s of people dismiss these happy hours as unnecessary, but I think you would be surprised at who actually attends. These events usually have some kind of executive sponsor, and they like to attend to try and get a feel for what’s going through the heads of their employees.
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to get to know someone you don’t usually have any interaction with, and is another great example of gaining visibility in your company. As a word of warning, just make sure you leave a good impression at these events. These are not the kinds of events where you want to get pass out drunk, or make lewd comments. Be sociable, but also be aware of who you are associating with.
These ideas aren’t anything new or groundbreaking, however I do think that they are severely under appreciated by the vast majority of today’s workforce. To sum it up in one sentence: Sign up for that class, slap on those Levis, and order that sampler platter, it’s time for you to get promoted.