8 little work habits that will all but guarantee you a promotion


By Katie Warren, INSIDER

Whether you've been at a job for a week or a year, it's never too early to think about ways to advance your career.

"Your career is always a work in progress," Terri Wein, co-founder of career coaching firm Weil & Wein and Jobtreks, told INSIDER. "Even when you are happy with your job, it's helpful to think about next steps, namely a promotion."

Being direct with your boss about your goals and taking initiative to hone new skills and go beyond your job description will help you get on the radar of whoever makes advancement decisions.

Here are some other tips to help you get a promotion.

1. Imagine you have your manager's job.

© Anne Marie Fox/HBO 
You should start by imagining you have your boss's job and then, "think about what skills you need to hone to be good at that position," Wein said.

"Make a list of those skills and explore how to improve those skills," she told INSIDER. "For example, take a class on public speaking or read articles on how to manage a team. Look and dress the part of your boss's job."

2. Engage with your manager.

© Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images 
It's also a good idea to directly ask what you can do to improve your chances for advancement.

Cynthia Pong, career coach and founder of Embrace Change, suggests finding out which performance metrics are most important to your supervisor or whoever is in charge of promotion decisions.

"To start the conversation, simply say something like, 'I wanted to check in on how I'm doing and come up with a plan for me to keep striving to do better at _________[organization]. What would you say are the most important things to _________[organization] in terms of someone working here? Is productivity the top priority? Or quality of work? Or something else?'" Pong told INSIDER.

Talking to your supervisor about your ambitions can bring them on board as your advocate, Wein added.

"Tell her directly that you would like to be promoted in the upcoming cycle, but don't appear to be competing with her," Wein said. Remember you're on the same team, she added.

3. Ask to set up periodic check-ins with your boss.

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If your supervisor is open to it, see if they will meet with you weekly to reassess your goals and your progress in meeting those goals, Pong said.

"It may seem like a lot, but if you are accomplishing a lot each week, then this will make it super clear to them how important you are to the organization and you will also be 'top of mind,' which increases the likelihood of them passing along opportunities to you and recommending you for opportunities and/or awards," she said.

Just make sure the meetings are structured and not overly long, Pong said, adding that the focus should be on reviewing what you accomplished in the past week, looking at how it measures up to your goals, talk about what you want to do contribute more, and set new goals for the upcoming week.

4. Make sure people know who you are.

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But you shouldn't just focus on your boss.

"Your professional reputation and level of visibility within your company have a huge impact on whether you are considered for a promotion," Danielle Dayries, founder of career consulting firm DMD & Associates, Inc, told INSIDER. "To develop this professional brand and be top of mind when it comes time for a promotion, we recommend venturing just a bit outside of your normal, day-to-day responsibilities by building a network within your company."

One practical way to do this is to have coffee or lunch with someone in your department or a key influencer within the organization at least once a month, Dayries said.

"Simply start with an invitation for coffee or lunch with a message that communicates that you just want to know them better and be of value to their endeavors," she said. "By showing genuine interest in them and extending an invitation with a focus, you'll get a better response rate. During this coffee or lunch, they will also learn more about you, your unique skills and accomplishments, but in an organic, conversational way."

This, she said, will ensure that by the time talk of a promotion comes along, you're already front and center.

Wein added that another way to meet more of your coworkers is to join firm-wide committees and affinity groups.

5. Take initiative.

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Career coach Ashley Stahl told INSIDER that one of the best ways to get yourself on the radar for a promotion is to be willing to do things nobody else wants to do.

"Are there any tasks that have been sitting on your boss' to-do list for weeks?" she said. "A strong way to get noticed is by taking on a project that no one wants to tackle, but that has to get done."

Stahl said she experienced this firsthand in her corporate job before she became a career coach.

"One of my employees went out of her way to make a chart of the deliverables, and it just made my heart surge," she said. "It was a job that needed to be done but I hadn't set aside any time for it, so when she took the initiative and presented it to me, it felt like Christmas! When you want to stand out at work use your job description as a starting point, not an ending point."

6. Be a team player.

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You want to do your best to stand out at work, but that shouldn't mean you throw your coworkers under the bus to try to look like a rockstar.

"Sometimes you're the star of the show, and other times you're in the background," Stahl said. "Being alert to your coworkers' needs, and offering to help when their workload is overwhelming, is the best way to establish yourself as a team player."

"You don't need to be a martyr of self-sacrifice by staying late every single night to do someone else's work, but stepping up without expecting any personal benefit will never go unnoticed or unappreciated," she added.

7. Prepare yourself for employee reviews.

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If your company gives formal employee reviews, you should be prepared to show how you contribute to the company and your ideas for the future, Wein said.

"Create a one-pager outlining your strengths, contributions to your group, as well as areas of improvement," she said. "Add projects and ideas that you want to work on going forward and make sure those projects show upward mobility."

8. Continue to be the person people want to work with.

© Shutterstock / UfaBizPhoto 
By establishing a great reputation, making sure people know who you are, and going that extra mile, you have developed a kind of power, Dayries said.

"The key to maintaining this power is to continually act in a way that advances the interests of colleagues and subordinates by understanding and most importantly, serving the needs of others," Dayries said. "By helping others, you'll show leadership qualities and demonstrate that you're capable of doing more than you are currently doing. Think of ways to acknowledge others along the way, thank that person that helped you learn something new, be that employee who goes about the work with a 'happy knack.'"

"You'll soon find that people want to work with you, they want to see you succeed, and they are happy to share their opinion with influencers that you are well-deserving of a higher level position," she said.



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8 little work habits that will all but guarantee you a promotion
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