Do you want to get a promotion? Okay, here’s how.
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How to Get a Promotion
What are Promotions?
Promotions tend to result from the intersection of luck and preparedness.
Luck, because you can only be promoted if an opportunity arises.
Preparedness, because if you are not ready, then you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity, and you may not even notice it.
So, since you cannot influence fortune, you have to do what it takes to be ready for them:
- to spot opportunities
- even to be notified of them first
- and then to seize them with the right combination of talent and track record
Prepare to Spot Promotion Opportunities
You won’t be able to spot the right opportunities for you, unless you know what you are looking for.
So, the start of your process is to do the tough thinking about what you want from your career and, crucially, what you want next.
Now, you need to bring those promotion opportunities to you...
And this means building a network of professional relationships with people who:
- Can support and guide you
- Respect and trust you
- Value your capabilities
- Will let you know when they spot something
Make time for one-on-one conversations with people who may be able to help. They may be your peers or your seniors, and in your sector or outside of it. These will be your allies, advocates, mentors, and your mastermind group.
And they exist in your workplace, professional associations, communities, and online social networks. If you aren’t using LinkedIn between promotions and job changes, why would you expect your connections to help out when you need them? Be active, and be generous.
Henry Ford’s Advice
‘You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.’Henry Ford
If you want to get yourself promoted, you need a reputation. You need experience and a track record of success. The best way to demonstrate what you can do is to do it. And this will give the right people all the evidence they need to assess what else you could do. The greater your accomplishments, the higher they will rate your potential.
It’s not for nothing that I sign off every video on my second channel with ‘Keep Learning’. It’s the key to a long-term professional career that grows. If you do not grow professionally and intellectually, how can your career do so?
Innovation and Problem Solving
Some roles can manage with a tedious amount of process compliance. But none of the really good ones. Focus on looking for chances, in your current role, to demonstrate your capacity to solve problems and create new ways of doing things.
Build Your Case for Promotion
If you were trying to promote a project, you’d aim to show how the benefits outweigh the sum of the costs and the risks.
Promoting you feels just the same to your employer and your bosses:
They need to see benefits.
And they need to feel sufficiently confident that these will outweigh both the costs (in financial and time terms) and the risks (of you failing and creating more work… or worse)
So, to prepare well for your promotion, by keeping your personal business case up to date. Keep reviewing it with a critical eye… What is the weakest link in your argument? Then, look for ways to strengthen that aspect of your case.
If You Don’t Ask
Sometimes, we need to make our own luck. If there is no current opportunity, maybe you need to catalyze one.
The old saying is ‘if you don’t ask, you won’t get’
There’s no guarantee that asking – either your current employer or going out to the employment market – will succeed.
But, if you do it with respect, courtesy, and a mighty strong case behind you, then you really will not do any harm. And you may well garner some respect for your self-confidence and style.
Recommended Videos and Articles to Help with Your PM Promotion
A Project Management Career:
- Is Project Management a Good Career? How Well Does it Pay?
- 13 Reasons to Take up a Project Management Career
- What You Need to Know about the Project Manager Job Description
- Can you Get a Project Management Job? (Here’s How)
- How to Get Your First Project Management Job | Video
- Are You on Track with Your Project Management Career? | Video
- Imposter Syndrome: Do you sometimes feel you’re not up to the job? | Video
- How To Advance Your Project Management Career
- What’s the Next Step in Your Project Management Career? (Ikigai) | Video
- Work-Life Balance: How to Get Balance in Your Work-Life | Video
- Essential Project Management Interview Questions
- Project Management Job Interview – How to Crack it! | Video
- How to Answer the Question: Tell Me About Yourself | Video
- What is the STAR Format for Behavioral Interviews? | Video
Specific PM Career Routes:
- How to Pivot Your Career to AI – Artificial Intelligence Career
- How AI Knowledge will Help Your Project Management Career
- How to Start a Successful Career in Project Management Contracting
- Building a Career in IT Project Management – with Andreanna Marshall
- Working with a PMO and Building a PMO Career – with Curtis Jenkins
What Kit Does a Project Manager Need?
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Note that the links are affiliated.
Learn Still More
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For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.
For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.