You’ve probably worked with this person before. The one who rises through the ranks of the company, or maybe throughout their career at different companies, seemingly effortlessly. While their ascent may appear effortless, in reality, they’ve mastered the art of positioning themselves for a promotion. If your annual review is approaching, don’t wait until the scheduled date to make your case. Act now to make sure when the time comes, there’s no doubt in your manager’s mind that you are ready for the next level.
It’s Not About You
For years, the standard advice has included relentless self-promotion, but in the higher levels of any company, the job is not about being the star of the show, but about using your unique abilities to lift and lead those around you.
Good employees – and good leaders – know that the true secret to success is teamwork that unites, empowers, and inspires others for the betterment of a healthier whole. If you’ve been focused on getting noticed and being a disruptor, shift your focus to helping others look good and elevating the team.
But It’s Not NOT About You
For some, the issue isn’t standing out, but blending in. Your manager may have a lot on his or her plate and isn’t always focused on tracking your development and accomplishments. It’s up to you to make sure they know when you’re taking on more responsibility and generating results.
Don’t wait until review time to try to remember all of your achievements. Keep a running tally of successful projects, times when you gone above and beyond your job description and received awesome client feedback. At the end of a big project, send a wrap-up email to your boss or schedule a meeting to discuss what went right and how you can do even better next time.
Don’t wait for your annual review to bring good work to their attention. That may be too late. Some companies make decisions about bonuses and promotions long before they actually sit down for your review.
Dress The Part
We’d all like to think that looks don’t play a role in career advancement, but the data tells us otherwise. A 2009 study by members of the economics department at Elon University in North Carolina found that people see outward appearance as an important source of information about workers and believe certain personality traits may be inferred by observing personal grooming.
You don’t have to have movie-star-looks to be successful, but you do need to be well-groomed and dress for the role. Every company has certain dress and grooming codes, whether they’re written in an employee handbook or just implied.
Take note of how the people above you dress and aim for something similar. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, but step up your wardrobe and grooming in a way that feels like you. Grooming and personal hygiene are not just about looks, but about your ability to project the self-confidence of a leader.
Network, Network, Network
There is a reason that the old saying “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” has persisted. Whether you’re looking for a job outside your organization or within, you need connections.
Successful people develop mutually beneficial relationships within their department, throughout the company, and in their community. Connect with people outside your immediate, day-to-day activities and look for opportunities to benefit people outside of your own team or department. You’ll be seen as a team player, someone who is willing to lend a hand to create value for all.