5 Tips to Get Promoted

Want to get promoted?  Being successful in the corporate world isn’t rocket science (unless you work for NASA), but it is hard work.

Assuming you meet the minimum criteria of delivering what you are hired to do–and it is the minimum for success–the below 5 tips will help you stand out, become a superstar employee, and get promoted.

How to Get Promoted

1. Learn to Ask for Forgiveness, not Permission

The first thing I was told by my manager when I left college and entered the corporate world was that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to wait around for permission.

The idea is simple–take action.  You are hired to fill a certain role, and it is your job to do what is best for the company.  You may will make mistakes, but any manager (and company) worth working for will recognize your potential and help you become a better employee that continues to take action.

You can make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, but it’s going to be a terrible omelette full of shells.  Be willing take a risk and prove you’re ready to take action and responsibility.

2. Think Like Your Manager

A regular employee does only the work assigned to him.  The promoted employee anticipates what is needed and does it.

How do you anticipate what will be needed?  Think like your manager.  Put yourself in her position and think about what you would want from a direct report–“What would make your life easier? What would help you excel in your job?”

Now do those things, because you are that direct report.

3. Do the Work Above You

What’s the easiest way to prove you’re ready for promotion?  Do the same quality of work as someone at the next level.  Talk with your manager to take on similar responsibilities as the next level and prove you can deliver.

Then, when it comes time to evaluate your readiness, there will be no question of if you can do the work, because you’ve already proven you can.

4. Improve the Organization

To be a Rockstar employee (and managers promote Rockstars), it’s not enough to just deliver projects for the business.   You can only do so much as a single employee, but if you can contribute to improving your co-workers as well, you’ll be delivering real value to the entire company.

In addition to your day-to-day work, find ways you can uniquely improve your organization. This can include becoming a trainer for a skill like Project Management, organizing team-building activities for your team, or just creating humor in the workplace.

5. Work on your Personal Life

To excel at any company, people have to know who you are.  You can do great work, but if management can’t tell you apart from a stranger on the street, then there’s no one way they can make an informed decision about your ability to succeed at the next level.

But if you make a point to meet people, and have something interesting to share, they’ll remember your name when it comes time to decide on things like assignments and promotions.  “Who’s this Drew person? Oh that’s right, he does stand-up comedy and led an improv workshop last month” is much better than “Who’s this Drew person?  I see he’s working with the sales group, but I don’t really know who he is.”

Managers hire people, not robots.  Be interesting. Be memorable.  Be fun.

Got your own tips for promotion? Share them in the comments.

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