How to get a promotion: 4 Simple Steps

April 15 2014

By Julia Richardson – Getting looked over for a promotion can be devastating blow, especially if you put in the hard work and time. But there are steps to ensure you don’t. Sure, promotions aren’t guaranteed and the good guy doesn’t always win, but we’re taught to believe that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded. So, when we work hard and receive nothing in return, it is easy to imagine why we might feel undervalued and overlooked.

Not getting that promotion may leave you wanting to quit. After all, what can you do? You obviously can’t give yourself a promotion, but that doesn’t mean you are powerless. With a little strategic planning you can ensure that you are not only an asset to your company, but worthy of graduating to the next level. Here’s how:

Focus on the Big Picture
When we’re deep in working mode, there is the tendency to have tunnel vision. This is why it may seem unfathomable that you were overlooked. Look at all the work you put in! But just as in life, this isn’t all about you. In order to become invaluable, you must think of the big picture and not yours alone. This requires initiative to go beyond your singular role and take steps to get things done without being asked to do so.


Initiative is considered by many to be the key component of a great employee. Taking initiative will demonstrate that you are not just another employee, but are ready for the next step- and consequently, that promotion.

Take Risks
Along with initiative, you need to show that you are capable of making decisions. There is risk associated with decision-making, but by standing by and letting others make decisions for you, you may be sending the signal that you are not comfortable with change. Making the right (or wrong) call demonstrates that you can operate outside your comfort zone if the need arises. It also shows confidence and indicates that you are interested in growing your skill set.

Great leaders are also great decision makers. If you find it difficult, Pepperdine University offers some great advice. These qualities are essential in getting that promotion and taking your career to the next level.

Understand Company Goals
Often, new opportunities within the company are created with certain goals in mind. Being aware of these intra-company goals and how they factor into the opportunity at hand will give you a clear advantage. If you’re unsure what the company’s goals are, you aren’t alone. So, ask detailed questions and then try to incorporate the goals of your company into daily office interactions.

Let it be known that you genuinely care about the company’s success and that you are actively engaged in making it happen. Understanding your company’s goals sends a clear message to your employer that you are on the same page and that you’ve put time and effort in making those goals become a reality. In order to prove that you are worth the investment, you need to show that the feeling is reciprocated.

Remember the Details
Not only must you work hard and act the part, but you should look the part as well. Remember the details that are required to make sure all of these factors come together. Do your work efficiently and on time. Show initiative and take risks. Invest in the company and not just your job in order to understand company goals. Remember that every detail counts. Your appearance can say a lot about you, so make it count. If you want that promotion, you have to dress the part.

Winning that promotion and advancing your career involves hard work, but it also involves a great deal of strategy. In order to truly prove your value, you have to think beyond work. Ultimately, you have more control over your career destiny than you realize.

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