Most people assume that if they perform well, they'll probably get a promotion somewhere along the line maybe at their annual review. But a smart employee doesn't leave these things to chance. Here are some tips for getting that promotion when the time is right:
- Be professional: Steer clear of the office gossip and don't be that guy who has a little too much to drink and makes a fool out of himself at the company party. It's important to have a trusted co-worker you can go to in times of stress, but be sure that person is healthy and will be honest with you instead of helping you to wallow in anger or self-pity. Other than that, assume anything you say, do, or even post on social media could get back to your boss--and behave accordingly.
- Learn to take criticism gracefully: Learning to take criticism well is worth the effort. The first rule is: Keep your mouth shut. If your boss pulls you aside and asks you to do something differently, don't try to explain why you did it that way in the first place--instead, say something like: "Thanks for letting me know. I will do better next time." Admit where you are at fault, and try to take the information as helpful feedback rather than a personal attack.
- Take initiative: Is there something you can do to improve your workplace or go above and beyond in your duties? Don't wait for your boss or manager to ask--just do it! An employee who really shows his or her investment by doing more than the minimum always shines above the rest.
- Participate: Employees who want to earn a promotion don't shy away from sitting on committees or joining the company softball team. Make your face, enthusiasm and commitment known by signing up to participate in company activities that are not necessarily required.
- Know when to speak up: Good bosses appreciate employees who have the guts to be honest if they don't agree or see a potential problem. On the flip side, an employee who knows better about everything can be extremely irritating and unpleasant. To make the best impression, learn when to speak up, and when to just go with the flow.
- Be positive: Complaining and negativity are extremely unattractive, not to mention unhelpful. And you don't need to be an impractical Pollyanna to start seeing obstacles as challenges or to look for good qualities in a difficult coworker. Having a positive outlook will go a long way in making your work life and your boss's easier.
- Be up front: If you want a raise, sit down with your boss and ask him or her what it would take to get promoted. Seek honest feedback on your performance and find out what would help you to qualify for greater responsibility and compensation.
- Practice honesty: Mistakes happen. If you screw up, it's best to come clean right away. Better yet, offer a potential solution when you approach your higher-ups about the error. Trying to cover up or lie about something you did wrong could come back to haunt you later on.
- Learn something: If you're in an entry-level position, chances are you'll need to acquire some additional skills before you even qualify for a promotion. Some companies will provide financial support for employees to continue their education or take advanced training. Find out which skills you are lacking or that your company finds especially valuable, and take steps to learn them.
- Ask: If you've done everything above and you still haven't gotten that promotion, it may be time to assert yourself. Let your boss know what you have accomplished and how you add value to the company, then ask to be considered for a promotion. You deserve it!
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