Things are looking up for the job market in 2012, but we're not out of the woods yet. If you're hoping for a promotion in the new year, be aware that it will be tough—but not impossible.
Follow these four tips to get a promotion and climb the corporate ladder even in a stagnant economy:
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1. Focus on achievements. No one gets a promotion without being valuable to a company, and the best way to show your value is by focusing on your achievements. Rather than describing your day-to-day duties, focus on things you accomplished at your current position, namely, specific results.
Using numbers is a great strategy. For example, "increased profits by 40 percent" or "doubled sales in the first quarter" give tangible, measurable amounts of value you provided your company. When talking to your manager about a promotion, make sure to convey your value in the form of your achievements.
2. Ask for more. Show that you're ready to take the next step by taking on more responsibility. Ask for—and volunteer for—more tasks and projects, especially those that correspond with your desired post-promotion position. Also, take the initiative and go the extra mile on anything you're assigned. In order to get a promotion, you need to show you're not only able to handle extra responsibility, but able to produce quality work at the same time.
3. Up your skills. Show your employer that you're committed to a future at your company and to a higher position by investing in some professional development and training programs. Staying on top in the business world means keeping your skills up-to-date with the newest technology, best practices, etc.
Not sure what skills you should improve? Look into the skills necessary for the position you want. What are some skills people at that level have? More importantly, what are some skills people at that level should have but don't? If you can offer a necessary skill that's currently lacking at your desired level, you're offering your employer a great opportunity to promote.
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4. Be patient. Even though hiring is expected to rise this year, companies are still bouncing back from the recession and the economy is still tough. If you've made it clear you want a promotion and have done your best to showcase your achievements, capabilities, and skills, the rest is out of your hands. It may be the case that your company isn't in a position to promote at the moment; while this is disappointing, it's a situation that will hopefully change in the future. Keep up the good work, and keep making your goals known.
Have you been promoted recently? Share your tips with us below.
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle.