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If you sit around and wait for a promotion, your career might stall for a number of reasons. You make it easier for your boss to pass you by, either because she wants to save money on salaries, avoid potential problems with employees who don't get promoted, or simply forgets that you haven’t had a promotion in awhile. Taking a proactive stance when it comes to getting a promotion can help you climb the ladder faster at your company. The first step is to create a few goals that can ease the path to a promotion.
Create a Career Plan
Creating a long-term career plan will help you target promotions that enhance your ability to climb the ladder for many years to come. In some cases, you might sacrifice an increase in pay in exchange for a better title. You might be willing to take a horizontal, rather than forward, step if it helps you move upward later. Your goals might include flexible hours, telecommuting or improved benefits. Look at where you’d like to be over a set period of years, and what jobs you want to hold on the way to your ultimate goal. This will help you determine what types of promotions you want. After that, set a timetable for when you want to set up a meeting with your supervisors to discuss the possibility of a promotion.
Improve Your Stock
Before you ask for a promotion, make sure you have all the skills and experience the most qualified person for the position should have. This might mean signing up for seminars in time-management, communications or leadership skills, or taking part-time classes to get a more advanced degree. Consider getting certified in your area of expertise, or at least starting the process. Join a professional association and then serve on a committee or write an article for your industry’s trade magazine to raise your profile at your company.
Prepare Your Pitch
When you ask for a promotion, be prepared to tell your employer that it will benefit the company. Simply telling your boss you deserve a promotion because you’ve been with a company for a certain number of years doesn’t maximize your chances for advancement. Write a job description for the new position that shows your superiors the value it will have to the company. Include specifics, such as how much money you can make or save the company, what processes you can improve, how you’ll increase productivity and efficiencies, and why the company will make or save money if it creates the position or puts you into a vacant role it wants to fill. Include examples of your past accomplishments, not just duties, to show you have a proven history of making things happen.
The more people who support your promotion, the stronger your case will be. Talk to other department heads, co-workers who will benefit from your promotion, and your immediate supervisor if someone above him will approve the promotion. Share your job description with them and solicit any ideas they have for strengthening your case. Do this by asking them how your promotion might help them. Ask if they will provide a reference and if so, let them know when they might be contacted. In addition to co-workers, have clients, suppliers and other stakeholders put in a good word for you, even if it's something as simple as sending an email to your supervisor saying how efficient you are at your job.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.