One of the important aspects of managing your career is to get promoted where you are. That’s why I always recommend to candidates to show their promotions right on the résumé. Every prospective employer likes to see a candidate with growth potential. And showing a record of promotions shows great potential.
But how do you get promoted?
I have always believed that a promotion should be somewhat anticlimactic. The best way to get promoted is to have assumed the position at the next level long before you get there.
Remember how when you were junior and you were sitting in a meeting and had a thought? But you were unsure of the thought so you didn’t say it? And then, five minutes later someone else said what you were thinking and the whole room gave that person recognition and accolades? And you said to yourself, “Damn. I should have spoken up.” Well, those are the instincts you have to learn to hone so that you do get recognized. And the more you speak up and contribute, the more recognition you will get and the better you will do.
And the better you do the more confidence you will gain. And that is how to get promoted. You don’t wait for your supervisor. You just do. Most account managers and creative people tell me that when they got promoted they were doing the same job that they were previously doing, or at least a huge portion of it. (Along with the promotion, there may be new responsibilities). As I said, the promotion should almost be anticlimactic.
There are those who tell me that they are working for a tough, insecure supervisor who will get angry if they become too assertive. Tough for the supervisor. In appropriate meetings, you managers will see that you are ready for the next level and, despite your immediate supervisor’s insecurity, you will get the recognition you deserve.
Sometimes this takes a while. I see young people a year or two out of school who believe they are ready for promotion. The account executive who has only a year in grade and wants the account supervisor title. And they, unfortunately, look for a new job rather than wait to get the next title. Over the years, I have counseled probably hundreds of executives who tell me they are ready for promotion. I tell them to sit tight so they can show a career progression where they are. When you are young, waiting is hard, but often the right thing to do. As you go up the scale the pyramid gets narrower at the top and waiting to get promoted may be a necessity as jobs get scarcer.
I am not advocating being pushy.
There is a fine line between being assertive and being too pushy. However, it requires maturity to determine the balance between the two. That maturity is part of being promoted.