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Promotions are not a given. It is up to you to create and manage your own career path – within or outside your present organization. You may love your current company and can visualize yourself staying right there as you move upward. What strategy can you deploy to impress your superiors and take home a bigger paycheck as the years go on?

From the Mouths of CEOs: What It Takes to Get Promoted

The following reasons for promotion were listed by top CEOs in a recent survey. They represent industries ranging from marketing to IT and from new media to financial planning:

  • Show initiative. Ask what you can do to help grow your current project or the company. Do not wait around to be told what to do. Never bring up a problem without a possible solution. Show that you can think your way out of any obstacle on your own.
  • Know – and do – your job. Prioritize your responsibilities. Know which tasks are most critical and which ones can take a backseat. The best candidates for promotion are those who “manage up” and find the balance to do exceptional work while knowing where to draw the line. They can adeptly say, “I can do this or I can do that, but I cannot get both done well today. I feel like Project A is our priority. Do you agree?”
  • Avoid drama. Keep your complaints to yourself unless there is a real problem – namely, the inability to get the job done. Your job is to make your boss’s life easier. Save the drama for after hours. If there is a serious issue, describe it to your manager in a calm, factual manner. Make them aware that you are on top of a possible solution and at the same time, give them time to work out their own ideas.
  • Be social. Do not skip office parties or opportunities to socialize with colleagues. You may miss basic office news and risk alienating yourself from the people who sit next to you for eight hours every day. When the time comes for senior management to choose someone for a plum assignment, you are more likely to be recognized, remembered and chosen.
  • Lose that sense of entitlement. In order to get a promotion, you have to actually be worth it. Do not walk around with the air that you deserve it. Be confident, but not arrogant. If you are concerned that your manager does not notice your achievements, set up a meeting with them and ask for their feedback. Be motivated, professional and thoughtful about your decisions and your interactions with others.

Additional tips for solidifying that promotion include:

  • Develop mentoring relationships. In 80 percent of promotions reported in one recent study, the successful employees involved had mentors higher up in their organizations.
  • Quantify your achievements. Keep a record of everything you have done that has enhanced your company’s bottom line, built its reputation or shown your unfaltering loyalty. Practice self-promotion by making key decision makers aware of your successes.
  • Bond with your boss. Take every possible opportunity to make your manager a key supporter of your career aspirations. Seek their counsel and stress your interest in staying with the organization. Use your performance appraisals to not only review your accomplishments, but also to discuss any potential roadblocks to your advancement.
  • Keep learning. Perhaps the single best way to get ahead is to continuously expand your knowledge and skill set in business-critical areas. Technology and environmental forces are changing more rapidly than ever before. You need a constantly increasing scope and depth of knowledge to stay marketable.

The executive recruitment professionals at BrainWorks can provide further guidance and resources as you ensure that your climb to the top continues seamlessly and strategically – whether it is at your current organization or somewhere new. Contact us today to learn more.


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