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Prepare Yourself and Improve Your Chances of Success

A promotion is an important career milestone. Know how to make the most of every opportunity and take nothing for granted.

Be willing to earn your promotion

Some promotions are unexpected, for example if a sudden vacancy occurs and your manager asks you to step into the role. However, the usual route to promotion requires long-term thinking, hard work and consistent high performance in your current job.

Be sure you really want it

Before you get serious about seeking a promotion, you need to decide whether it’s really what you want. Yes, a promotion means career advancement, more pay, public recognition of your abilities and perhaps increased status at work and in your community.
However, there is a flipside. With a promotion, you can also expect a heavier workload, additional responsibilities, longer hours and possibly more stress.

Preparing yourself for promotion

  • Leave nothing to chance. Most promotions have little to do with luck. To win a promotion, you have to be good at what you do and know how to sell yourself.
  • Think strategically. Sometimes you have to think a couple of moves ahead. Your path to a particular position might involve an intermediate role. This career stepping-stone allows you to gain essential experience and set yourself up for the big opportunity.
  • Embrace personal development. New skills, self-assurance and a fresh outlook on life may help your promotion prospects, so read our articles on developing confidence and personal development.
  • Manage perceptions. As well as having the right skills, experience and qualifications, you have to manage the perceptions that others have of you. For some good advice in this area, read about selling yourself and managing your personal reputation.
  • Make the most of performance appraisals. These are perfect opportunities to discuss your aspirations with your boss. Brush up on what to do by reading our article about performance appraisals.

  • Show your adaptability. Be willing to take on challenges beyond your normal job description. This is good way to demonstrate your readiness for promotion.

Making the most of promotion opportunities

  • Show your interest. If there’s a promotion on the horizon and you want it, make sure the relevant decision-makers know you’re interested. This is a good time to think about how to sell yourself.
  • Applying for an internal vacancy. In some companies this is a formal process that requires as much preparation and attention to detail as any job application.
  • Take promotion seriously. When you put up your hand for a promotion, expect your performance to come under scrutiny. Never assume that your promotion is a certainty until there is a definite offer.

When you receive your promotion

  • Stepping into your new role. Expect a period of adjustment as you settle into your new role. It is normal for “learning the ropes” to take a little while.
  • Handling success. Avoid common mistakes like wallowing in your own glory or gloating over a colleague who missed out. Be humble and focus on proving yourself worthy of the promotion.

A note about career planning

Winning a promotion is one way of create the future you want. For ideas about how to achieve your long-term aspirations read about creating your dream career.

Visit our Careers Advice section for related articles.

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