How to Land a Promotion

Rather than hoping for a promotion; take these steps to earn it.

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Miriam Salpeter
Miriam Salpeter
LinkedIn data suggest two of the most popular months for U.S. workers to receive promotions are June and July.

Are you in line for a new title and increase in salary? Don’t just sit around and hope for a promotion; think about what you can do to earn it! (January is another popular month for advancement, so start incorporating these plans now to be prepared to propel your career into the new year.)

Here are seven ideas to help you land a promotion:

Identify your organization’s currency. What does your employer value? Once you know, it’s much easier to aim for a promotion. Does your boss compliment the employee who always stays late? Someone who gets her work done at warp speed? Does the employer value creativity and innovation? If you work in an environment where time at your desk is the most important quality, finishing quickly and leaving early isn’t likely to land you on the next step of the career ladder. (Even if you’re getting the job done.) Be strategic about identifying who else recently earned promotions. How did they impress the boss? Do what is necessary to make sure you appeal to your company’s values.

[See 5 Non-Work Ways to Boost Your Career.]

Go above and beyond. Look around. No doubt, many of your co-workers are “phoning it in.” They show up, do what they need to get by, and go home as soon as they can leave. Even if they’re basically doing a good job, that attitude isn’t going to win any awards. Most employers want to see initiative. Have you identified a problem or project and made a point to show how you can solve it? Listen carefully at meetings and during conversations with co-workers. What’s the nagging issue no one seems to want to take on? You can be a rock star if you suggest some solutions and volunteer to spearhead the response.

Contribute to the bottom line. Even if you work for a non-profit or aren’t in a sales role, it’s likely there are opportunities for you to effectively make money for your organization. If you order supplies or select vendors for events or services, when is the last time you looked for a better deal? With the resources online, there’s no excuse not to investigate new options to save money regularly. In some organizations, you can be a hero by saving a relatively small amount of money. Think ahead, research options, and be sure everyone knows how you’ve helped.

[See More Tips on Setting Yourself Up for Promotion.]

Keep track of your achievements. Too busy getting the job done to make a list of what you accomplished? In the meantime, everyone else is engaged in their own work and not bothering to notice all you contribute. Carefully track and document anything noteworthy you do at work. It’s important information to help you update your resume and what you’ll need to prove your value when it comes time for promotions or raises.

Get credit when it is due. Don’t leave your career path to chance. It’s your job to make sure you are recognized when you’ve done something special. It’s a fine line between appearing to take too much credit or seeming power hungry and simply alerting the right people when there is news to share. There’s no need to email the entire company every time you check a to-do item off your list, but do email your supervisor and consider cc’ing anyone else involved in the project when you or your team accomplish something significant. If you supervise other people, many organizations will value your role as a mentor if you showcase an employee’s accomplishment, which indirectly reflects on your abilities (see “currency” above).

One good way to highlight accomplishments is to use LinkedIn to collect and showcase endorsements. Even if you need to request the recommendations, having professionals highlight your work online will help solidify your abilities and may help convince others of your promotability.

[See How to get Media Coverage as an Expert in Your Field.]

Be likable and flexible. A Harvard study showed most people would prefer to work with someone they like than someone competent. Ideally, you’ll be both amiable and capable, but it’s important to remember how important emotional intelligence is for the job hunt and succeeding in your role.

Get educated. Are you missing certain skills you’ll need to move your career forward? Do you notice that every upper-level leader in your organization has an advanced degree or certificate? If your resume does not reflect an interest in continuing your education, think about how to incorporate some credits or enroll in an accredited program.

Don’t expect others to manage your career. It’s up to you to take steps to move forward and to drive your own career bus.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.