What do you need to build your career?
First of all, there are two important questions you need to answer.
Do you love what you do for a living? What is it that you love so much that you want to make it your career? I think you will agree with me that the last thing you want to do is to hate your job.
What is your ultimate career goal? Do you want to grow as a leader or as an expert in a particular field?
Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to make the right and wise choice when the opportunity for advancement presents itself. There is one simple question to answer: Will this particular opportunity help me get closer to my ultimate career goal?
Now that we're clear on that, let's move on to more practical things like what exactly do I need to do to actually get a promotion?
You can start by learning what opportunities are available (open positions or next level in the organizational structure) and what the "rules of the game" are. What is the process for promotion? Is there an annual promotion discussion, or do employees just have to apply for the open position? Or both? How are promotion decisions made and implemented? How can you learn about open positions and requirements? What type of assessment is used to determine the best candidate? How do you apply for a promotion?
The next step is to make yourself visible. Here is what you can do:
- Perform at 100% and beyond;
- Network with your peers inside and outside your department;
- Speak with conviction and stand by your words;
- Be proactive and do more than your job description requires.
Of course, you need to have a conversation with your direct supervisor. Don't assume that he/she can read your mind to know that you want a promotion. They won't read or guess. You would have to tell them about your aspirations.
When is a good time to do this? And how do you start the conversation? One thing to avoid is giving an ultimatum: either you promote me or I leave. The best approach is to ask what it would take for you to be promoted. Then, depending on the answer, you can either argue why you deserve to be promoted now, or you can create a development plan and work on your growth.
What else is important? It is important for you to believe that you really deserve to be promoted. If you believe it and you meet the requirements, others will believe it too.
One last thing. It may happen that no matter how hard you try, you will not get promoted. There are probably two main reasons for this: either you haven't done everything in your power, in which case you should probably go and finish what you've started. Or, given that you have done everything in your power, it is simply not the place you should be. Then it is a reason to go and look for other opportunities.
What do you think of these tips? Is everything clear or do you have any questions? If so, please leave them in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.