5 Tips for Positioning Yourself for a Promotion

By Linda Descano
Executive Vice President, Red Havas

“How do you position yourself for a promotion?” is one of the most frequent questions that I’m asked whenever I speak at a professional development-oriented program. Not surprising, this tends to be a particularly hot-button topic as you prepare for your annual performance review. In addition to sharing their tips for mastering the compensation, workplace experts Lindsey Pollak and Selena Rezvani also offered five practical steps for putting yourself on the path to a promotion:

1. Observe

“Study what other people in your organization have done to get promotions,” said Lindsey. “What did they accomplish? How are they viewed in the company? Learn from their successes and follow their lead. If it’s appropriate, you can even ask your manager or HR exactly what it takes to receive a promotion and what the timeline looks like.”

2. Overdeliver

Both Selena and Lindsey agree that when you ask for a promotion, it’s critical you demonstrate that you are doing more than just a good job — which is what’s expected of you. Selena elaborated, “Be able to explain how what you’re delivering is above and beyond that which you’ve been asked to do. In addition, explain the extent to which you are depended on to perform your tasks, underscoring your value and contribution to the company.”

3. Be Visible

As Selena noted, “It’s much easier to ask for and get a promotion if you have champions around the company who are co-invested in your success. his is where being a wallflower who keeps her head down will do you no favors.” Instead, Selena and Lindsey recommend spending time to cultivate key relationships with sponsors and calling on others’ clout. You can do this by engaging in mentoring meetings with top leaders, offering to help them on critical, high-visibility projects, or by asking them to lunch to “talk careers.” “Once you engage them, be vocal about exactly where you want to go in the company and how you plan to contribute,” reminded Selena.

5. Frame the Picture

Lindsey suggests volunteering for reach — sometimes referred to as “stretch” — assignments to show that you are capable of doing work above your current position. She added, “That can help people to picture you in the more senior role before you even have it, which makes the promotion feel less risky for them.”

5. Make It Hard to Say ‘No’

Is there a way you can wrap your boss’ goals, passions, or struggles into your promotion request? For example, if your boss complains that she must prepare detailed sales reports each week for higher-ups, why not make a promotion pitch where part of your new job will be to handle the reports? Selena added, “Look for ways to build a custom job request that will either alleviate a pain point or motivate the other side by achieving a goal or otherwise satisfying a need or desire.”

This article was originally published in March 2018.

Linda Descano
Executive Vice President at Red Havas

Linda Descano, CFA®, is a past president of New York Women in Communications and currently serves as the organization’s Treasurer. Linda’s day job is as Executive Vice President at Red Havas. An executive leader and a communications strategist, Linda describes herself a conversation architect, designing and delivering award-winning integrated campaigns underpinned by social media and content marketing. And, as a CFA® charterholder, Linda brings to the strategy table financial and analytical savvy that helps her deliver data-driven results for clients and the boards on which she serves. Learn more about Linda.


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