I recently wrote a blog by Trevor Pilgrim about getting promoted in the teaching field. Some tips were actually valid in any line of work, starting with the first one: competition for promotions is usually fierce.

However, there are things that you can do to stand out from the crowd and enhance your chances of promotion.  They are all centered on hard work:

  • Upgrade your qualifications and skill sets to position yourself at the top of your field.
  • Pursue professional training.  This increases eligibility for promotion.
  • Develop a very positive work ethic and attitude.  You must have a huge appetite for work.  You learn and achieve mastery by doing things; not by reading about them alone.  This expertise is useful during interviews for higher positions, since you are speaking from actual experience and not educational theory alone.
  • Ask your boss for more responsibility.  Show him or her that you can successfully manage heavy workloads at levels above your current positional level.  You can join another team, for instance, or help with special projects, event planning.  This way you will help to move the entire institution forward.  Show that you can move beyond your narrow department, and see the big picture.
  • Never make excuses or blame others for your failures.  Accept responsibility and find solutions for the problems yourself.  Competent problem-solvers generally get promoted.  Be proactive.  Do not run to the boss when you have a problem.  Solve it yourself.  If you must go to the boss, make sure you have a solution to offer as well.  This way, she/he will see how capable you are.
  • Seek a mentor who is successful at the level you want to reach.  He or she can give you priceless guidance in your career path and inform others who matter, about your ability to function at a higher level.  Plan your career thoroughly and learn how to deal effectively with interview questions and scenarios.
  • Be loyal to your boss / company and do all you can to help him or her to achieve stated company goals.  This way you become a key member of the team and the boss will support your bid for promotion.
  • Be a mentor yourself to other members of staff.  Help them to develop their skills, professionalism, and engagement.  This enhances mutual trust and respect among all team members.  The entire institution will benefit.
  • Be professional and well organized at all times.  Pursue excellence and be a role model for all staff members.  Be consistent, dependable, and always offer ideas to improve company effectiveness.
  • See challenges as opportunities to demonstrate your ability and opportunities for growth.  Do not fear them.

There is no guarantee that any given individual will be promoted, as there are often too many candidates chasing too few available positions.  However, there is general agreement among management people that the recommendations given above can definitely improve your chances of being promoted.  Merit and hard work are still rewarded most of the time.