Career Development – Get that Promotion; Part 1

Are you doing well in your present role but feel ready for the next step up? Even in this tough economic climate some people are still managing to get promotion. But how do you make yourself part of that élite group? This is the first in a two post series – look out for the second post next week.

Create Your Portfolio

Lots of people labour away at the job – just getting on with it. They deliver lots of good things but they keep such a low profile that no one notices. Make sure you can prove the results you have achieved and make sure the right people know about them,. Put together a portfolio of the work you have done, showing your value to the organization. Where you can, put in the numbers. Show how, and by how much, you have helped them. Prepare a presentation based on your portfolio and ask your boss for the opportunity to show it to them. This is particularly useful when you want your boss to sponsor you for a promotion – you need to give your boss the facts they need to support your case. If you want them to fight for you, you need to give them the ammunition.

Volunteer for more responsibility

Tell your boss you are ready, willing and able to take on more responsibility. Show how you would set about dealing with a more diverse workload. Make clear that it isn’t the status you will relish, but the work itself. Give your boss the opportunity to give you new and different tasks. Then when you have built your tasks up to well exceed your job specification – prove it and show your boss what you are achieving. Now ask for recognition in terms of your boss supporting your bid for promotion.

Create your own opportunity

Can you see an opportunity in your organization;  a potential role that no one else has thought of.  Can you show how it could help the organization and pay for itself. Is it a role that you can fill? Put the case together and have the confidence to ask to present it. Even if they don’t follow-up your ideas, you will win points for ingenuity and creativity, plus you will have demonstrated loyalty to the organization.

Let your ambition show, but with discretion

Don’t be afraid to let them know you are ambitious but do it with care. Here is an example. Do your team meet up with the boss outside the workplace? This can give you an opportunity to let your boss know about your ambitions. But you need to do it with sensitivity. People are more receptive over a drink or a meal, particularly if they are very task focussed in the office. Use this time with discretion. If you press too hard, you could make your boss and yourself feel uncomfortable. And don’t make your boss themselves feel threatened. Make it light and back off if you sense what you are saying isn’t going down well.

Ask for a private meeting

If you and your boss are really busy then trying to talk about promotion while you are working isn’t going to have the effect you want. And you need time to set out your case. Ask to set a block of time to one side to talk but don’t say specifically that you want to talk about promotion. Don’t make it too mysterious though – it is reasonable to ask for some time to talk properly about how you are doing. If you can, do your best to make sure all goes well at work in the hours before your meeting.

You can find Part 2 of Get That Promotion at this link


Wendy Smith is a career and life coach with depth of experience in career coaching, business coaching and personal development. She helps clients find a new career direction, start-up new businesses and achieve a better work/life balance. You can contact Wendy at

One thought on “Career Development – Get that Promotion; Part 1”

  1. Pingback: Career Development – When Not To Go For Promotion | WiseWolf Talking - the WiseWolf Coaching Blog

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