6 steps I used to get promoted over a dozen times

June 13, 2020

My first job after graduating from college was as a sales rep. I totally sucked at it, at first. I had endured a 5-week training course in a five-star hotel (not too shabby) but the tips and tricks they taught us just didn’t work and the rejections just kept coming and coming.

It took me a little while, but I eventually found my own methods to get customers engaged and make the sale (more about my sales tips in a future post, maybe). Even after I became good at sales, I knew that I wanted to be more than a salesperson, that the job really wasn’t for me. So, I made a plan to get promoted. I knew that it would take several promotions to get to where I wanted to be – I wanted to be the CEO – so I had better get cracking.

Here is my list of the tools I used to get promoted, over a dozen times…..

Step 1. Be good at your job. Sorry, but there are no shortcuts, here. Your first step in getting the next job is to be good at the one you are doing. I will be honest, in my 20s, I was thinking about the next job from the first moment I got promoted. I was always focused on the next few steps ahead, but that didn’t mean that I could skip the most important step – being good at the job I was doing. You need to stand out from your peers who are also competing to get that next promotion.

Step 2. Find some way to add value over and above your core responsibilities. As a salesperson, I was always offering my input to sales reporting and analytics, creating and giving presentations, helping with training, providing marketing ideas, being great at event planning. There are many things that salespeople need to do in addition to making the sale. Pick one of these things that you are good at and become the expert for your team. Be the go-to team member for your manager for that particular skill or service. Most salespeople suck at the administrative and planning parts of their job. If you can fill that gap for your team, then you are making yourself more valuable, while also demonstrating skills beyond the scope of your current job.

Step 3. This is the most important step toward getting promoted, so listen up. Make sure you are noticed by the right people. I have told this to my team members and employees so many times over the years…It does not matter how good you are at your job if the right people in the organization don’t see you. So, if you are killing it at your job and you are going above and beyond to make yourself valuable in other ways, you are wasting your time if you are not also making sure that you are being noticed by the people in your company that can influence your promotion.

Step 4. Make sure your manager is advocating for you. Good managers want to see their team members get recognized and promoted because it makes them look good. Have your manager rave to their peers and their bosses about you and the value you bring to the team. Get them to offer your skills to other teams and help train members of other teams to implement the tips and tricks and skills that you have demonstrated. This all helps to build your profile more broadly across the organization, which is step 5.

Step 5. Build your profile across the organization. Get seen by the right people. Speak up at company meetings; ask questions; offer input; speak freely and confidently; don’t worry about speaking your mind. Offer to present at company-wide meetings or sales conferences. Get involved. And when you are at the head-office, introduce yourself to people. One of the most challenging parts of being a remote worker is being out in the cold, where it is harder to build relationships at the head office – typically where the decision markets are. This applies today more than ever,

Step 6. Apply for jobs at the head office. You may love your sales job, or your remote job, but I can tell you that my salary only really started to take off when I was in the heart of the beast – at the corporate headquarters. Here, you have so many more opportunities to get noticed. You still have to be great at your job, but more decision-makers are around to see how great you are.

Getting promoted is not easy. It takes hard work and it takes a plan, especially if you are impatient and ambitious. Promotions don’t just come along, you have to work hard at them. Work hard but also smart and you will get that promotion you so richly deserve. Good luck out there.

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