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How To Get A Promotion?

Remember the song Kolaveri, di? Of course you do.It’s a mediocre, but catchy number, which is now a global phenomenon. And what made it into such a huge success? It’s music? Quirky singing style? A mixture of Tamil and English lyrics? Well, yes, to a certain extent, but mostly due to a brilliantly well thought out viral marketing strategy. It made someone listening to the song look COOL. Just like the ridiculously popular American sitcom, ‘Friends’ did. If you watched Friends in the 90s, you were considered uber cool. Mostly, we associate with certain fads because our friends are doing it.

 To get a promotion, one of the most important favors you can do yourself is to create an aura of awesomeness around you. Not blatant self-promotion, but sending out subtle feelers on a continuous basis. What it does is, it slowly starts influencing people. Word of mouth does the rest. Assuming you’re working for a firm that has enough opportunities for promotions, you can follow these steps below to ensure you are one of candidates in the race to the top:

Be the only Jack of your trade:

If you are the assistant editor, you be the best darn assistant editor there is, like the main chef at a fancy restaurant. He goes, the restaurant loses business. Perform superlatively. Good reviews go a long way at the time of final assessment. Give it your all. Carve a niche for yourself. People should say and believe that there is no one else who can do your job as well as you. Once you have that reputation, half the battle is won. Additional traits like asking for more responsibilities, dressing impeccably (not in torn jeans and loose t-shirts), being well-groomed, and being punctual and regular at work also help immensely. Seem keen and enthusiastic. Put in those extra hours at work. Show them you’re ready for more.

A little tooting never harms:

 It’s fine to be humble and polite about your achievements, but not always. Make sure your colleagues, your superiors, or anyone else in important positions knows about the projects you’ve been working on or are associated with. If a client has sent a testimony, make sure it reaches the right places through an email, most preferably: “Hey, just wanted to share with all of you what so and so sent across yesterday. So nice of so and so.” Simple. No need to go overboard. Whenever you get an opportunity, make sure you let your seniors know your future plans, career goals  and such. And that if there’s an opening for a senior position you would like to apply.

Be Mr. Likeable:

It’s hard to be sugary sweet all the time and with everyone. You don’t need to. You can fake it. The world’s a stage and we’re all actors, right? You will always be friends with a select group of people, and there will be another set of people who you cannot tolerate. But that’s the real world for you. Be helpful, cordial and nice to people in general. Smile a lot. Hone your people skills. Relationships matter. Attend office parties, get-togethers. Network, do some PR. Know the people in the higher echelons. If the seniors are into smoking Cuban cigars and drinking Scotch, learn about these things so you can casually slip that knowledge into your conversations with them. “That lad right there, smart, enterprising chap, I tell you.” Once you get this line out of them, you, Sir, will be on your way to the moon. These relationships will also help when you have to go back to them for recommendation or reference letters.

Build them skills:

You can never know everything there is to know about your field. So continue to learn. If this means going back to school, do it. It’s good if your firm offers you opportunities for professional development. But if they don’t, don’t shy away from augmenting your skills by joining a program or a workshop that will help you move forward in your career. If you are an editor, a program in editing and publishing will be great, if you are in marketing, a program in selling skills will do you good, say, even an executive MBA. You can enroll in the evening classes or weekend sessions. It will be hard. You will miss out on your social life, but this is equally important, too. Even cross-functional skills will be terrific. If you’re a marketer, you can try learning about finance and if you’re in HR, you could maybe try and get a handle on operations. Multi-skills will always come in handy when promotions are up for grabs

You do all of this, and before long you would be on the hot seat giving your promotion interview. And presuming you will sail through it like a hot knife through butter, remember one thing: never forget your colleagues, or develop an attitude, all of a sudden. They have been with you throughout, and will have your back if you share the same equation with them like earlier, before you got your fancy pay and a cabin with a view. Also make sure you send across a thank you note to your colleagues for their support, your supervisors who recommended you for the promotion, and also to the people who were in the interviewing panel.

And most important of all, do not jump the gun. Do not go around screaming about your promotion from rooftops. Wait for the company to officially announce it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than learning later that someone else got it.

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