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How can I Increase my Chances of Getting a Promotion?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Getting a job promotion is more than a matter of luck. There are specific ways to increase your chance of being promoted, and steps toward getting a promotion tend to remain the same in most working environments. From the office to the factory floor, chances of getting a promotion are raised by observing the following steps.

Many people assume that good job skills at their current job make them eligible for promotion. Skill at what you do is important, but doesn’t necessarily merit promotion. Aim for being not only great at what you currently do, but also demonstrating ability to be great at the job to which you want to be promoted.

Some positions may require additional education, training or an advanced degree — consider furthering your education to increase your chances of getting a promotion. Some companies even reimburse for educational expenses that are related to your particular job or field. Although education is important, it is not necessarily the most important qualification an employer looks for when promoting to a higher position.

It can also help to let managers know that you have more to contribute to your work environment. Carefully construct a business plan that outlines your personal career goals. Once you have put it together, ask your manager for a meeting to discuss career growth. After you have outlined your goals, ask the manager for specific feedback on areas you need to improve in order to get a promotion, or to fulfill your business plan.

This type of meeting should not be a forum to complain about not getting a promotion, and once you have made your objectives clear, don’t keep repeating them. Rather, discuss your intent with a manager with a well thought-out plan and take feedback. Then use employee reviews to discuss how you're meeting the business plan you made.

In either business or technical fields, probably one of the largest determining factors is your excellent communication skills. Being able to take criticism, lead teams, and have good relationships with fellow workers and managers makes promotion more likely.

Even in an environment where team-based work is not common, you can lead teams that benefit your workplace. Teams can look at issues in the workplace like how to improve the snack room, how to make an office environment more ergonomically sound, or how to implement safety and emergency plans for workers. Alternately, in jobs where teamwork is used frequently, look for opportunities to head teams in order to achieve work-related goals. If you’re not good at teamwork, you’re overdue for learning how to successfully approach a team. Take classes, read books, or observe others leading successful teams to become an effective team manager.

Form mentor relationships with a few key members of senior staff. In a large company your personal visibility may be low if you do not know the “higher ups” well. Survey your company and look for those who can teach you more about your job. Then approach them and ask about mentoring. This is not a chance to ingratiate yourself with a higher up, but to improve your visibility, skills and likelihood of getting a promotion.

Increasing visibility can also be accomplished by your work in the community. You can be a dedicated volunteer for Meals on Wheels, a local member of the School Board, or a soccer coach. Write or publish in related trade magazines or websites to increase visibility in your company and chances for promotion. Look to local organizations or politics as an opportunity to hone your interpersonal skills, and to participate in and lead teams.

In the workplace, observe others who have been promoted and compare your behavior to theirs. If you have good relationships with these workers, which you should, ask them in a friendly way what skills were most important in earning a promotion. Mirror these skills.

Don’t toot your own horn, but do keep a record of your successes at work. In reviews, having a record of such successes can call attention to these skills. Also plan on having an exemplary employee record. Show up on time for work, minimize work absences, and be ready to take on the occasional extra job. You should show, rather then tell, that you have the qualities an employer is looking for in a higher position.

Especially in technical fields, some employees tend toward arrogance about their superior knowledge or intellectual gifts. While technical knowledge is extremely important, don’t allow it to isolate you from employees with less knowledge. Avoid superiority, and adopt humbleness by learning more, especially about interpersonal skills in the workplace.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a SmartCapitalMind contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon69795 — On Mar 10, 2010

I started working at Mcdonald's four or five months ago and I wasn't getting any good hours. But now my hours have picked up a great amount. I was wondering could more hours mean a promotion is in the air?

By bcagle — On Aug 18, 2007

I am applying for a promotion to Sales Manager in my organization. My boss has asked me to write a business plan for review (I am up against 4 others). The business plan is supposed to include the following: An action plan on driving sales; How I will grow the business and the team; What my personal goals are (since I am still in production); How I will motivate the team; Identifying what is broken and how to fix it. This is not the typical business plan and I have no idea where to start or how to lay it out. I have great ideas…I just need to lay it out in a way that will capture my audience. Any suggestions?

this request came to me yesterday and I need it completed within next few days.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a SmartCapitalMind contributor, Tricia...
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