5 Ways to Get a Promotion and Climb the Corporate Ladder Like a Boss

Don't wait for a promotion, take it.



Before you go searching for a new job in hopes of a more coveted title and salary, take a look around your current office. The opportunity for a promotion may be just under your nose — and way more attainable than you think. But ask yourself, are you going about it the right way?

A promotion is never something that can be guaranteed, nor is it handed to you just because you do your job well. If you want to climb the ladder, there are a few tactics you can deploy to get yourself noticed by leaders and key decision makers. The following guidelines can put you on the right track.

1. Look to earn a promotion, not get one. If you’re looking to get a promotion, your first order of business is to change your perspective. Promotions are never given, they’re earned. People are often frustrated when they regularly complete work tasks accurately and on time, yet management doesn’t seem to notice. News flash: doing exclusively what you’re asked to do in your existing position just means you get to keep that position; it doesn’t move you forward.

Career progression comes not by showing up and doing your existing job as assigned, but by constantly taking on more responsibility and solving problems.

2. If you want management to notice you, start looking for problems to solve. Take a look around you. What could you be doing differently to bring in more business or to improve the way the organization is run? No matter what your position is within the company, there’s nothing stopping you from looking for new ways to improve things. Furthermore, nothing is ever 100 percent perfect. If you can’t see the 10 percent or 20 percent that can be improved, you’re either not looking hard enough or you aren’t as ready for a promotion as you may think. If you can see it, tell your manager how you see things, why, and offer suggestions.

Good managers don’t want “yes people” — they want critical thinkers. Identify problems, propose solutions, take action to implement those solutions, and you’ll see others start to take notice.

3. Take on more responsibility. Since a promotion would require more responsibility, don’t wait for it to be given to you — take it. Ever heard of the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Well, why not do the job you want?

Take it from me, no one has ever been asked to stop taking on more responsibility. What’s more, promotions go to people who are capable of doing the new job, not just someone who wants to do the new job. With that said, no one should have to give you more responsibility — it’s up to you to take it.

4. Don’t just expect a promotion: Speak up! Making sure you’re solving problems and taking responsibility is how you get started. Once you’ve consistently gone above and beyond, you’re going to want to make sure your manager knows that you’re interested in moving up. Whether it involves, a one-on-one meeting, or just a casual conversation over lunch, your supervisors need to know that you’re looking to grow your career and that you’re there for the long run. Communication is key. Maybe there’s a specific open position that you’ve got your eye on, or you just want to be kept in mind for the future. No one is really going to know unless you tell them.

5. Get to where you want to be. The bottom line is that there’s a right way and a wrong way to pursue a promotion. Hoping and wishing that your supervisor will notice is not enough. The business world is a competitive one and it’s important to prove your value (what problems are you solving?) to the company while making sure you communicate clearly about what you want. If you want more responsibility, take more responsibility. If you know you want to become Senior Account Executive one day, make sure your manager knows. Good things come to those who go out and make them happen.

Tom Kulzer is the founder and CEO at AWeber, an email marketing service provider located in Chalfont, Pa. Over the company’s 17-year history, Tom has nurtured it from a small start-up to an organization with 100 team members serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide.

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