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The dos and don'ts of getting promoted

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Wouldn’t it be nice to get that new title you’ve been working towards, or an increase in your monthly pay? A recent Cpl survey found that 50% of employers believe ‘it’s who you know’ still makes a difference when it comes to promotions, but there are other ways to get promoted – even if you’re not networking every evening.

People like people who are personable and social, and employers are no different. So, what should you do, and not do, to be in line for a promotion? Avoid making the below mistakes and you shouldn’t have an issue broaching the topic of a promotion – even if you’re not part of an active professional network.

6 Mistakes to avoid when trying to get a promotion

1. Ignoring the importance of your boss’ values

Every day in work you do your job well, you stay late and you reach your deadlines – but your boss really values innovative ideas and quality, rather than quantity of work. If this is the case it won’t matter how many things you tick off your list your boss still won’t be that impressed.

Find out what your boss values, by asking them directly, observing how they work or by asking colleagues. Then work towards matching these values each day in work. This way you’ll be noticed and valued much more.

2. Only thinking short-term

Think long-term when it comes to promotions and commit to your goals. If you focus on doing your job well and having a long-term vision for how you can contribute to the company, you’ll be more likely to be promoted.

To make sure you’re committing to the right work, ask for regular feedback and adapt. As mentioned above, your boss’ opinion is the one that ultimately matters the most. If you’re finished a project, ask about what can be done next – or even better suggest something you think is worth doing.

3. Asking at the wrong time

Don’t assume you deserve a promotion just because you’ve been working at a company for X amount of years. Think about what you’ve done and how it’s benefited the company. Gather the financial impact of your work and other ways you’ve contributed to the business’ success. Present this to your boss when asking for a promotion and it’ll be difficult for them to say no – whether you’ve been in the company 6 months or 2 years.

When you ask is also important. Always factor in how the business is doing, not just how well you’re working. Depending on your field, your role, or your employer, there may not be any room for you to move up right now so do your research before asking.

4. Relying on what you already know

Ireland’s workforce is more educated than ever which means upskilling is more important than ever. Lots of courses are now available online and can even be done during work time. Upskilling shows you are committed, brings new skills to the team and gives you a better chance of landing a promotion, rather than someone else who has more relevant skills than you do.

5. Saying yes to everything

If you have a good boss, they’ll appreciate being challenged. Saying no also means you can focus on work that really matters. If you spot an issue with a request, think of a solution and propose implementing that instead. This shows you have initiative and are capable of a more senior role. 

Say no when you think your other work will suffer, or if you don’t have the skills to complete the job. Not being afraid to say no will result in better work and consistent meeting of deadlines, increased confidence to stand up for yourself and a reduced risk of burnout.

6. Being a gossip

The truth is, almost 50% of employers believe ‘it’s who you know’ still makes a difference when it comes to promotions so get involved and be careful not to gossip. Take part in the company culture, and say yes to opportunities that introduce you to senior members of the business.

If your company has a blog, offer to write for it. If your boss is on LinkedIn, share posts and insights regularly. If your company is involved in CSR, you should get involved too. Overall be positive, genuine and avoid gossiping. After all its scientifically proven that cheerful people deal with stressful work better and are more likely to be paid more and promoted faster.

Ultimately, every company works differently but if you work really hard, respect your boss and have a boss that respects you, you should be on the path to promotion.

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