What it takes to get promoted

Mar 29, 2019 | Careers

Admit it. From the first day of work, you’ve dreamed of getting a promotion. Some people believe that getting a promotion is a direct result of your time spent at a company. If you spend three years there, you’ll automatically move up the ladder, right? Might not be the case. A promotion doesn’t happen just because of your seniority. There are a lot of different factors that lead to your success. Here are some tips for shining in your role and putting yourself in the best light for a future promotion. Good luck.

Be a leader

You have to show your boss that you are a leader and a team player. Why? Because when you finally get that promotion, you could be leading a team and managing larger, higher visibility projects. That makes the leadership and teamwork concepts pretty important. To move up, you’ll want to be known on the team as someone who is dependable, takes initiative and mentors other employees. You don’t have to single-handedly run the whole show, but you need to be an integral part of the group and lend a helping hand when you can.

Solicit feedback

You should always pursue self-improvement. Throughout your career, your boss will give you feedback — both positive and constructive — and you should be able to take it in a receptive way. If your boss does not provide much feedback, ask for it. It will help you improve and shows you’re interested in growing.

Communication is key

If your boss doesn’t know that you want a promotion, they might not think of you when there is an opening. It’s a bad idea to be demanding about it, but making them aware of your ambitions can be very helpful to your career goals. During check-ins, make sure to periodically bring up that one of your goals is to progress within the company, and ask what skills you need to work on to get there. Another important component is developing relationships with your boss and others in the company. You want to be known as friendly, helpful, a go-getter. Having your boss or your boss’s boss as an advocate can be extremely beneficial for your career in the long run, even if you eventually move on to another role or company.


There’s a place for modesty in the workplace, but too much modesty isn’t necessarily a good thing. Lots of people downplay their accomplishments. You know who you are. (It was nothing, don’t worry about it.) Take credit where credit is due and make sure that your boss knows about your accomplishments. It could be as simple as accepting the compliment or praise, or gently reminding your boss the effort it took to get a project done. Just don’t be a braggart, nobody likes a braggart.


A promotion typically means that you have been a model employee and set an example for your team. That’s why you won’t get promoted if you’re constantly complaining, showing up late, or spending more time chatting it up with Karen from finance than doing your job. If you want to be given more responsibility, you have to show that you’re worthy of it and that you can set the standard for others. Always behave professionally and ensure that you are a pleasant person to work with, but don’t try to butter up your boss with flattery. They’ll see through that like saran wrap.


If you’re committed to your company, then it will show. Don’t be the one who gets to work late and leaves early or doesn’t seem to care about department objectives. Show your coworkers that your job and the company’s success matter to you. There’s no need to stay until 9 pm every night, but be involved and pay attention to what happens outside of your own cubicle. That said, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important and critical to avoiding burnout. It’s fine to show your dedication by staying late to finish a project, but be sure to balance that time out elsewhere when you need it.

Once you’ve mastered these skills, you’ll be well on your way up the corporate ladder, one rung at a time.

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