Promotions are tricky things. Most pundits tell you to go ask for a promotion, work extra hours or do something that actually doesn’t help.
What does help are three simple concepts — but ones that are not easy to achieve. So this isn’t a quick fix type of blog post — you need to do the work.
This is based on the simple formula (that’s hard to implement) of: Job Skills + Performance = Opportunity.
You need to be performing on your current assignment. You can’t be underperforming, especially to your peers, and then casually think you’ve earned a promotion. It doesn’t work that way. You need to be performing at an Exceeds level (even if your company never gives people that designation…) to be considered for a promotion.
No performance, no opportunity. I told you this wasn’t one of those 3-tips to nirvana posts…
Job skills are the currency of a career. “Have job skills, will travel,” one of my former coworkers has as her meme on LinkedIn. And it’s true — if you have the job skills, you can do the work. If you don’t, you won’t.
The thing is, if you don’t have the job skills to work the promotion job, you won’t succeed. Simple as that. You need to already have the job skills — through work or mastering adjacent job skills — to do the job you want.
How does a manager know you can do the work in the job you want as the promotion? You do the job in your current work and projects.
Or at least enough of them to show you can do the job.
Nothing is better than working six months doing the job you want. It shows you have the skills, motivation, and aptitude to do the job. Be willing to do the work the promotion entails to show management you can do the job.
Besides, if your management team isn’t that hot and doesn’t give you the promotion after some time frame you have in your head, you can apply for that promoted job with other companies — and show them you already are doing the job, but your current company isn’t willing to promote you to the job and give you the salary that goes along with it.
Getting a promotion isn’t a “3-steps to getting your promotion” type of work. It requires being smart about the work you do, performing on the job, knowing what skills you need, and pointing your work to showing you can already do the job.
Not simple. But Cubicle Warrior work. Work that most people are not willing to do.