Want Promotion? My Top Ten Tips For Success

Do you have a desire to move on from your current role into something new, or perhaps to move up the management ladder but you just don’t seem to be able to break through and get that promotion?

Competition is growing rapidly and it’s becoming increasingly tough to ‘seal the deal’. Now more than ever you have to be on top form if you want to be successful, and this means putting the work in and gaining an edge.

Below are my top ten tips to help your thinking. What would yours be?

1. Time in Service

How many times have you heard someone complain that the person who got the job hadn’t been at the company as long? It’s an easy trap to fall into. Don’t be lulled into thinking time in service counts as some kind of points system when it comes to deciding who gets the job. It doesn’t.

Instead of time alone, focus on what that time has taught you and how you’ll use this experience in your new role. Give examples of how your past will add value to the business in the future. If you can’t identify a value in something, perhaps it doesn’t have one?!

Remember: Time alone isn’t valuable. Time combined with Learning and Experience is.

2. Profile in the Business / Sector

Do you have one? Do decision makers in your business or sector know who you are and what you are capable of? Are you seen as a valuable asset to the business? What have you done lately to draw attention to your potential?

Don’t under-estimate the power of perception and self-marketing. You might be doing a fantastic job in your current role and be the next best thing…but if the people that matter don’t know about it, it has no value when it comes to promotion. And of course, if they don’t know about you they might just rely on what others tell them as a backdrop to any decisions and this isn’t always what you want them to hear.

To succeed you have to make the most of every opportunity for self-promotion. If you aren’t being offered opportunities, create them. Be visible. Promote your successes. Volunteer for those extra projects on top of your day job. Get noticed for all the right reasons. Contribute to Linked In! It will pay off.

3. How Hard You Work

“It’s not how hard you work for me that matters, it’s what you deliver”
So this one is easy, right: The harder you work the greater the likelihood people will value you? Well possibly, but unlikely in today’s environment. Yes, employers want people to work hard…but it’s far more important to them that the person delivers results.

If you were to be asked today “What have you delivered in the last year?” could you give strong examples? “It’s not how hard you work for me that matters, it’s what you deliver” is probably some of the best advice I’ve been given in my career.

In short, focus on the outcomes you’ve achieved, not just the process and hard work it took to get there. Without outcomes, you can’t easily show your value or the progress you’ve made.

4. “I’m good at my current job”

Yes, you probably are, but why does this mean you’ll be good at the job you want? You see it so often: People who were really good at their job get the promotion and then fail to deliver because they don’t have the skills set or knowledge required.

If you’re good at your job that’s a big plus. It’s probably getting you noticed but to take the next step you have to ‘think yourself’ into that new role. What different skills, abilities and knowledge will you need? What will people expect of you? What challenges will you face? How will you respond to these? How will you go about filling the gaps?

Your job at interview is to persuade and convince the interviewer that you are a good fit for the job. In short, your success will depend on them being able to picture you in the role. Have you made the leap?

5. Length of Service

Not to be confused with ‘Time in Service’ this one’s all about your ambition and drive.

What does your CV look like? Have you moved around a lot or have you been in the same job for years? Both will cause a prospective employer to form judgements about you.

If you’ve jumped from company to company every few months you’re most likely be viewed as a high risk and employers will be suspicious. If you’ve been in the same job for years, you might be seen as reliable and loyal, but you’ll also raise questions about your motives and ambition.

Spend time presenting the information to minimise employer concerns. Think through the questions your employment history might raise and deal with them positively.

6. Education, Education, Education?

Qualifications will help get you through the door. Experience, Personality, Behaviours and Values will get you the job.

Just how important is this? Of course it depends on the job. For roles such as doctors, accountants, scientists, etc. a good degree and educational attainment is going to set you apart. If it’s more about engaging with people and handling challenging situations, your educational attainment might not be quite so crucial.

As a rule of thumb, qualifications will help get you through the door. Experience, Personality, Behaviours and Values will get you the job. Employers can train you to do a job. Only you can change who you are.

7. Your Values

What are your Values? Are you driven to make money no matter what or is it more important to you that the customer gets a good deal?

Do not underestimate the impact Values can have on you and the expectations your employer will have of you. How you see the world and want to live in it is extremely important when it comes to changing jobs.

Do your values match those of the company you want to work in? If not, it’s probably best to walk away now unless you’re prepared to compromise or forgo what you believe in.

8. Your Value

Whatever you decide your value is, you have to be clear, confident and convincing to nail it.

This for me is the absolute crux of the matter and an area people give far too little attention to. What is your ‘value’ to the employer? What ‘added value’ will you bring beyond just the role? Why are you the best candidate?

To be successful you need to convince the employer that you are the one who will add the most to their business. It’s not enough just to fill the role. They want something more.

So what is it? It might be sales performance, improving their business profile, generating new business leads, bringing with you a strong network and sector influence or perhaps your breadth of experience in a particular discipline. You have to work it out.

Give this plenty of thought and do your research well – it will impress. Check out the advert and role profile. Give them a call and sound them out. Do a search to see what reports or articles have been written. Have a look at some of their employees on Linked In.

Whatever you decide your value is, you have to be clear, confident and convincing to nail it.

9. Chemistry

…this has nothing to do with sexual or physical attraction…
This one is tough and it’s hard to prepare for; but not impossible. Is there chemistry between you and the interviewer?

No, this has nothing to do with sexual or physical attraction or decisions based on ‘feelings’. It’s all about confidence: Theirs and Yours. How easily do you engage with each other? Is there a comfortable rapport between you? Can you both see yourselves working together? Do you think along similar lines?

You must take every opportunity to influence on this one. Look to build a rapport with them that mirrors how they behave with you. Hit them with facts and concise examples, don’t waffle. Smile and try to be upbeat – turn every challenge into an opportunity to improve. Use the other tips and tricks mentioned here to get an edge. It’s hard not to like this as an employer.

And of course, don’t ever forget this is a two way street; sometimes it’s good to trust your instincts and walk away no matter how tempting the grass appears to be on the other side!

10. What’s your USP?

Like it or not, you are a commodity. To be successful you have to be good at marketing yourself to attract a buyer. Why would an employer purchase the product that is ‘You’? What is your ‘Unique Selling Point’?

Have you ever looked at yourself in this way? If not, try it. You might be surprised at what you come up with…and if you get stuck, ask a trusted friend or colleague to do it. Just don’t ask your close family – they’re biased!


Adrian Barber, Director

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