Today, career management is an entrepreneurial role. We are all CEOs of our own careers. So, if you’re thinking that you want a promotion, what does that mean to you?
The answer to this question will vary by the uniqueness of folks’ self-assessment and situations. Some want more money or perks, a title, new types of projects to work on, more responsibility or recognition, a bridge to another role, a feeling of success and value … the list goes on.
You should know what’s driving you, your company’s situation, your target, and how you can contribute in this promoted role. If you feel you know this, as part of your strategy, here are five slip-ups to avoid:
- Pestering your boss with too-frequent reminders of wanting to be promoted. Think carefully about overusing terms like “my career” or “promotion” with your manager. If you have had conversations about this – where you’ve been clear in your expectations and have received feedback from your boss on what you need to do to move forward, leave it there. Just calendar a time in a few weeks or months when you can revisit the topic. Meanwhile, work with “your best” and “positivity” in mind.
- Taking too big a leap in accountabilities too soon. For example, a new scientist with a biotech company learned that a scientist two levels up from her role was leaving. She immediately went to her boss with a list of why she was qualified to step in. But her plan did not work. Her supervisor saw it as too big a stretch. She was left without a promotion, when she might have landed it with some strategic action in smaller baby steps.
- Behaving negatively with whining or glowering. Again, you’re CEO of your career. Act like a leader! If you’re frustrated because a promotion is not coming as you wish, keep your irritation to yourself. Focus on doing great work; that could mean all the difference if a situation arises where you could help. And never, ever say anything negative or disrespectful about your boss. It never ends well. An attitude of gratitude carries much more weight.
- Asking to be promoted without having shone in your current role. Employers don’t typically promote folks for just doing what’s expected. Just showing up is not enough. You want, if possible, to go above and beyond your job description and requirements. And you want to show measurable progress in any areas summarized for improvement on prior performance reviews. If you haven’t, why would your boss have you top of mind for a bigger role?
- Failing to brand yourself. You want to be prepared with talking points about the value or return-on-investment you’d contribute in the new position. Be able to articulate orally and in writing, your career value and your career charisma. And don’t overlook your physical appearance. Dress like the people two levels above you. If you find there is anything you’ve been wearing that detracts from your message, such as too much jewelry, a strong cologne, etc., then scrap it.
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