Make That Promotion Yours! No Promotion? Ask For One!
Whoa, Nelly! We don't mean ask for a promotion on your first day, week, month, even year! What we want you to do is make like a detective and start building your case. Once you have enough evidence, that's when you strike!
If you're like most of us, you're probably guilty of starting a new job and working away; doing what you're asked day in and day out, until the day you decide to move on to somewhere else. It could be four years later, and during this time you haven't looked at your CV once. "What's the big deal?" You might be wondering. "You only need a CV when you're looking for a job, right?" Wrong! But don't stress; we're here to help you get your 'case files' in order (we mean CV - we're here to help you get your CV in order.) If you'd like to apply for a promotion or ask for a promotion that doesn't even exist (yet!), our top tip is to take notes. The vast majority of your notes can be used to update your CV and cover letter; ensuring you're putting the strongest case forward. The rest of the mighty fact, stats, and evidence can be put into a separate document that you can familiarise yourself with and use as your secret weapon for interview prep! No matter if you decide to keep your notes scribbled in a notebook in your desk, typed in a notepad on your phone, or in a Word document, here's the sort of things you need to be recording:
Anything you're doing that is above and beyond what is laid out in your job description.
Any special projects you're asked to work on/contribute your expertise.
When you consistently arrive early/stay late without pay/to help out.
All positive feedback/commendations you receive from clients, managers, and colleagues.
All work-related courses/training you attend (including, dates, the names of providers, and the names of the courses/training.)
Mentoring/training staff in your spare time to help them progress in their career and become more of an asset to the company.
Any time you're asked to step up into an 'acting' role or a secondment.
Great ideas, solutions, strategies, and improvements you have that have the potential to solve problems the business might be having.
Impressive achievements such as targets you're consistently surpassing, positive press you've garnered for the business, awards you've won, etc.
Work-related things you've mastered since you started (i.e. You're unofficially the in-house database wizard that everyone comes to for help/support.)
Mistakes and errors you've picked up before they caused an issue or 'fires' you put out before they got out of control.
Business growth you have contributed to either directly or indirectly (i.e. building positive relationships with clients who went on to spend millions of dollars with the company.)
The biggest takeaway from all of this is simply to stick with the facts! You can't argue with facts. If you try and build your case for the promotion on solely soft skills (we're talking personality-based strengths like determination and reliability), the decision-makers have wiggle room for questioning you/your expertise. Present them with a barrage of hard evidence and your case becomes a lot more robust. We hope this list helps you to start gathering the supporting evidence you need to highlight exactly why you are the right person for the promotion in question. If for whatever reason someone else presents a stronger case than you, be sure to congratulate them and/or graciously accept your application being denied. Attitude is everything, and if the hiring manager sees your spirit has not been crushed by this apparent defeat (you're still working away as hard as ever), it will only serve to bolster your case for the next time you put yourself forward. Good luck, detective! We're here if you need us!