After you’ve been in your job for a while, it’s only natural that you might start thinking about a promotion. While some people are challenged and happy to stay in their job for many years, others look for new stimulation, new opportunities and additional responsibilities.
My belief in this regard is that it’s effective to demonstrate through your work that you are dedicated, skilled and competent and as opportunities arise, you put yourself in a position to transition from your current job to another. Then as you apply for the job and get interviewed, you speak of earning the opportunity and convincing them you are the ideal candidate based on your performance.
And be assured of one essential fact: any employer interviewing an internal candidate is going to use the sum of their interaction with that person as the basis for their assessment. In short, your entire work history to date at this company has been like one long job interview. So now as you seek a promotion, the employer is looking at how well you’ve worked, and whether they believe you can transfer you skills and work ethic into the new position you are after.
I’ve seen people who don’t put in the extra effort it requires to get ahead suddenly transform themselves into someone they historically aren’t the day they submit their application for a new position. It’s like they flicked on a switch and are hoping to fool those interviewing them that this go-getter is the real deal. In fact, the employer is going to base their opinions of the person not based on how they’ve been acting for the past few days, but will on how they’ve acted over the past three years or so.
So if you have any aspirations of a promotion in your future, now might be the very best time to start thinking about making some changes so you are the logical candidate to be considered at that time. For starters, think about the job you’ve got already and honestly assess your performance. Have you been letting a few things slide here and there? Maybe not putting in your best effort because you could do the job with your eyes closed? Working with integrity and enthusiasm means putting in your best day after day. If you’re not giving it your best and others are picking up on that, they just might assume you’ll not put in your best in another position; and that other position could be one with greater responsibilities so they might not want to entrust you with that if it appears you aren’t giving the company your best.
So let’s look at what you might do now to put yourself in a position to move forward. First get a hold of the job description for the job you have now. Don’t pull out the one they gave you when you were hired, but rather get a hold of a current one. Look at what’s required and make sure you exhibit all the requirements each and every day. Note anything you are expected to do but haven’t been.
Next get a hold of a job description for a position you might be interested in applying for one day. Your Human Resources department probably has one, and they should be receptive to your request and impressed quite frankly that you are doing some research into a potential future transition. Looking at this description, highlight the existing requirements you do now in one colour and the requirements where you are lacking in another.
Knowing what you’ll need to do to address your current shortcomings is the basis for your new goals. If you need additional qualifications, maybe a night course is in order. If leadership is required, seek out opportunities in your present job such as putting your name out there to lead a project. You might even want to get involved outside the company with some volunteer organization in a position of leadership. While your motivation might be self-serving, the organization who gets the benefit of your experience will be grateful regardless.
Another fix you should think about has to do with your physical appearance. Look at people currently in the role you are interested in. How they dress might be a cue for you to update your own wardrobe. If you wear sandals to work and your shirts look more suited to a beachfront vacation property while the people in that role now are wearing business suits, that might be a reason for a shift in your clothing choices. You want to make it as easy as possible for people in positions of influence to picture you in the new role.
Look too at your behaviour. Do you spend more time than you should at the water cooler when you should be working? Examine your habits both good and bad. If you’re the office gossip, or you like to spend a lot of time making the rounds and chit-chatting with everyone for 30 minutes at the start of each day, you might be ruining your own chances if this behaviour has been noted. This is your work ethic under the microscope.
Finally, talk to people; network with those in the role now. Set up meetings and get to know the people and the real job requirements. Put yourself in a position to succeed!