27 September 2023

Preparing the ground for promotion day

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May Busch* offers some advice on one of the most crucial aspect of a worker’s career progression — how they can stand out as the perfect promotion candidate.

Why do some people get promoted while others don’t?”

I get asked this a lot and often by people who have been passed over for promotion because they were too busy to think about their career.

If you’re up for promotion this year, now is the best time to be asking this question because you still have time to make adjustments to end this year on a high.

That’s why I’m going to share the three essential steps to getting promoted this year.

Even if a promotion isn’t your goal in 2022, you’ll find these useful for your later career.

This time, I’ll let you in on the first step, which is to answer the question: Why should you be promoted?

To be one of the fortunate ones, you need to be crystal clear on what makes you stand out as a promotion candidate — and be able to communicate it in a compelling way.

There are two challenges you face.

Challenge One

In the current economic uncertainty, organisations are more cautious, putting a freeze on hiring, or even laying people off.

With greater scrutiny on promotions as well, it’s more important than ever that you can make a compelling case.

Challenge Two

You won’t be in the room when your case for promotion is presented to the decision-makers behind closed doors.

Instead, you have to rely on someone else — normally your boss or your boss’s boss — and you can’t be sure what they will or won’t say.

We can’t do anything about the current economic uncertainty, but you can stack the odds in your favour when your case for promotion is presented.

What you can do is this: Help your sponsors make the strongest case possible on your behalf.

Start by figuring out how stakeholders see you as a candidate.

Then you can shift their opinions where necessary and help them make the strongest case for your promotion in those closed-door meetings.

To figure out how you are seen as a candidate and what you need to do to help make a compelling case, here are some questions to think about.

What are the unwritten, unspoken criteria for how you’re evaluated? When you know what they are, you can frame your case for promotion in the most effective way.

What makes you stand out as a promotion candidate? Knowing this will give you and your supporters the confidence to convey it powerfully.

What are the gaps and issues holding you back? Knowing what might hold you back will help you to address these issues with confidence.

How can you talk about yourself and your achievements? It’s important to talk about this in a way that impresses decision-makers, gets them to see you as a strong candidate, and feels completely authentic.

I encourage you to spend some time thinking about these questions.

If you’re unsure of your answers, that’s okay. Next time, I’ll share a way to help you gain the clarity you need.

Creating a compelling case for why you should be promoted is the first step to getting clear on what to highlight in your promotion conversations and showing you’re ready for a bigger role.

In my next article, I’ll share the second essential step, which is knowing who needs to know your compelling case so they can back your promotion.

*May Busch works with smart entrepreneurs and top managements to build their businesses. She can be contacted at [email protected].

This article first appeared at maybusch.com.

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