How to Get Promoted: 4 Steps to Prepare for the Next Step in Your Career
You worked hard to get your foot in the door, and now you’re looking to move up the ladder. It’s not only an exciting challenge but an important part of your financial future. Moving up in your company seems like a no-brainer, but many hidden costs are associated with getting a promotion.
Listen to this week’s episode of the rich & REGULAR podcast on the hidden costs of promotions, and keep reading below for tips on mentally preparing so that when the opportunity to move up arises, you’re ready.
Plan to succeed.
“Preparation is the key to success” is a cliche, but it’s true for most things in life, especially at work. We talk a lot about being mentally prepared for the things that may or may not happen in our financial lives because so often, managing your money is about managing your mind first. Without a plan in place, we follow the path of least resistance, and that might feel good in the short term, but rarely benefits us in the long run.
The same is true at work. Having already thought through the potential ups and downs of accepting a new role in your company helps you respond to new opportunities or promotion interview questions without hesitation and with more nuance and precision than if you were just winging it. Use these tips to help you mentally prepare for the next opportunity that comes your way.
There’s a reason pro athletes and corporate CEOs use visualization to help them succeed when the stakes are high. Know in your head where you’re going and what you want the future to look like so that you can jump on opportunities when they appear. If you haven’t taken the time to think through what you want for your future, you may see options only after they have passed you by.
Spend some time with a blank piece of paper or a journal and think about what you want your work life to look like in five or 10 years. From there, work backward to determine the steps you need to take to achieve your goals, all the way to the smallest step you can take today. Use this plan as a road map to help you develop into the person you would want to hire.
This exercise can take some time and may need to be done in a few sessions as new ideas come to you, but having intention with your personal development can help you gain clarity on what you want and where you’re going.
Develop your soft skills.
Review the job description of your dream job and list the qualifications you think the ideal candidate would have. Focus on the technical job requirements, like needed certifications or hard skills, but also consider the softer skills not explicitly listed.
Soft skills, such as listening, speaking, developing good working relationships with colleagues, and a deep understanding of the company’s culture, usually go unsaid but become more important as you work your way up the ladder. Start working on the skills you’ll need for that big promotion now so that they are ingrained as you start to move up the corporate ladder.
List your accomplishments.
Keep an ongoing list of your accomplishments to help boost your confidence when you advocate for yourself or to act as a reminder when you doubt yourself. Logging your achievements and comparing them to the dream job qualifications you created above also lets you see where some of your skills might need further development.
Practice formally talking about the positive things you have done for your company with a coworker or your partner before meetings with your manager so you don’t get tongue tied. The more you get comfortable talking about your work successes, the easier it will be to speak fluidly in a meeting or interview.
Ask for feedback.
Feedback is uncomfortable, but the only way to get good at hearing criticism or praise is to keep requesting it from your manager, coworkers, or the people you manage and evaluate it for accuracy. Not all feedback is helpful, so practice both the actual asking for observations and considering its validity. Pull out the valuable pieces for future implementation and apply them to your plan for future growth.
When feedback is offered, listen closely and actively, take notes if necessary, and if you disagree with their assessment, don’t try to defend yourself in the moment. At the end of the meeting, thank the person for their time and then reflect on what they said. You may disagree with their perception of the situation, but the person’s responses can offer insight into places you need to improve or ways to get ahead.
Focus on what you can control.
Ultimately, you don’t have much control over whom your company chooses to advance, but by focusing on your mental preparation before the big promotion arrives, you are not only making yourself a strong candidate, but also ensuring you’re ready to face whatever challenge comes next. Take your time working through these tips and use them as a road map to help you succeed.
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