Did you know that just performing your job well, is not enough to get promoted? You should think about employment as a value exchange, your salary and level of responsibility is tied in directly to your level of output. So, if you are paid to do a certain job, and you do that well, but don’t do anything else beyond that, then why are you worth more? You are just doing what you are actually paid to do. This mindset shift is key to understanding how to get to the next level.

Understand what your boss wants

This seems obvious, but all research indicates most employees don’t truly understand what is expected of them. Are you focused only on business as usual activity? If so, then its highly likely you are not going to be promoted anytime soon. Effective goal setting is key. Before you can begin your promotion journey, you need to understand what your boss wants, and what their pain points are. Then make sure that you sit down with your boss on a quarterly basis to ensure you are on track.

Keep a record

If you saved the company $1m in February, but you are not having your year end review until December, will anyone remember? Our bosses are human, and as with anyone else, they are going to remember what happened recently, and attach more value to it, then what happened ten months ago. Providing they can remember what happened ten months ago! As such, the only way to ensure your year end review is accurate, is to keep a track of all your achievements throughout the year. 

Don’t stick to your job description

You must be proactive. Once you are performing your business as usual activities well, to set yourself apart, you need to take on addition projects and responsibilities. Don’t wait for your boss to give you an additional project, volunteer to solve additional problems. By taking on these stretch assignments and delivering you are showing you can operate at a higher level. By taking ownership and accountability, you are showing that you are a leader.

Ask for the promotion

I am serious. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. If your boss thinks you are happy staying where you are, they are going to maintain the status quo.

What if you don’t get?

Now there is always a possibility that you don’t get it. There could be some circumstances that are out of your control. The company might be doing badly and downsizing, your boss might quit, the firm might be going through a merger or acquisition, you may have just been outperformed by a peer or your boss may just not appreciate your value and contribution.

This leaves you with a simple choice. You can either stay where you are, ask for some constructive feedback on what you can do better and try again next year. Or you can go find another company that will give you what you want now. If you have done the above correctly, one thing is for sure. You have achieved good results that have demonstrated your value to operate at a higher level, so if your current employer doesn’t appreciate that, plenty of other firms will.