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You think you’re a model employee who works hard, gets things done, and fulfills expectations. But working hard doesn’t always translate into climbing the ladder at work.

When it comes to getting a promotion, you have to be proactive. You must stand out. You need to make a really good case for why you should get promoted. After all, if you’re excellent at your job, why would your boss want to change things?

Here are 7 steps to getting a promotion:

1. Let your boss know you want one

You need to be clear about your career goals and objectives. Never assume your boss knows what you want; she isn’t a mindreader! Schedule time to discuss your desire to get to the next level — and ask your manager what you can do to make that happen.

2. Keep learning

A sure sign of leadership is a thirst for more knowledge. Target 3-4 areas where you can grow and learn — like, adding a new skill, networking more frequently, or  establishing a presence in the industry. Then, come up with a plan (including a timeline) for development.

3. Raise your hand

Prove you’re capable of handling the responsibilities of the next level by taking more of them on. Instead of waiting for your manager to assign you a project, volunteer for one. Or ask if they need help with some of their regular duties, like preparing the weekly executive report or making client calls.

4. Project executive presence

Our body language says so much. In meetings, do you hunch down into your chair? When presenting, do you avoid making eye contact? Do you fail to smile at colleagues in the hall or elevator? All of these physical behaviors indicate  you lack confidence and poise — and aren’t ready to lead.

5. Track your successes — and mistakes

An annual review shouldn’t be the only time you think about your work. You should be tracking your work on a frequent, consistent basis, and then discussing that with your boss at regular 1:1s. Analyze why you achieved success — or why you failed to. That learning process can only help you grow (see Step 2), and you will be able to apply those lessons to future work.

6. Find a mentor

You don’t need to go through your career alone — finding someone to provide guidance, advice, or just an ear for venting is crucial to your professional development. People with mentors perform better, advance faster, and report higher job satisfaction. If your manager isn’t a possibility, then target someone whose career you admire or whose background is similar to yours.

7. Make networking a priority

It’s all about who you know — and that doesn’t just apply to getting the job in the first place. It applies to promotions and new opportunities, as well. The more connections and relationships you form, the more visible you are in the company. After an all-hands, be bold and talk to the CEO about the quarterly goals. Or when you stop by the coffee station, introduce yourself to someone from a different department and ask about their role. Join the company softball team. Attend lunchtime yoga.

As with anything, timing is everything — being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. If you have the right attitude and the right skill set, that promotion will soon be yours.


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