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Ask Dr. Zoe – How to Get a Promotion

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‘Want a Promotion’ Asked:

One of my goals for 2019 is to get a promotion. What’s the number one thing I can do to get noticed at work and prove to my boss he should promote me? I hate talking about myself but I know I’m good at my job and I’m valued in the workplace.

Dr. Zoe Answered:

I love working with women to help them get promotions! What better time than the new year to go after that promotion! There isn’t just one main thing that can lead to the promotion of your dreams. It’s a combination of things. So, I will give you the top ones:

The most important thing to understand is that your value at work often has very little to do with your salary or your promotions. I have seen time and again the scenario where the employee doing most of the work in a company is getting paid the least. Scoring a promotion is about a combination of providing value and possessing self-confidence.

Creating value without confidence does very little except make your boss happy while you feel angry and resentful. Possessing self-confidence without value may get you an edge in the short run, but it will come back to bite you.

So, how do you create both? It seems to me that you know that you do great work and you feel valued in the workplace—so, good job there! It’s the confidence factor that you need to work on. It’s time to fall in love with promoting yourself—or at least make friends with it.

Now is not the time to be humble. If you’re expecting someone else to step up and promote you, good luck! You may grow old before that happens.

So, yes, you have to toot your own horn. This is often harder for women than it is for men. We have been taught that it isn’t lady-like to brag, boast, or point out our value over others. The good news is that it can be done with a hefty serving of grace and you will get your promotion. Here are the top things to consider when positioning yourself for a promotion:

1. Go above and beyond: Doing your job well makes you a great employee, but if you really want to get noticed, find out about the tasks of your desired role and start taking initiative towards that role in any way that fits within the model of your company.

Then it’s important that you point out what you are doing to your boss. The best way is to ask for feedback about your tasks. Be willing to take any constructive criticism and go back and let your boss know what steps you took to improve.

Once you feel confident that your boss is aware of your great performance and could visualize you in a higher role, it’s time to do the asking. Yes, if you want a promotion the best way to get it in a timely manner is to ask for it. An excellent book to read as you walk through this process is Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang. Reading this was a game changer for me in my professional life.

2. Know your market value: First, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what the going, competitive rate is for your desired position across other companies. Many people manage to land a “promotion” but not much of a salary increase because they were focusing on the title only. Take your time and do the research. When you go to your boss, this knowledge will help you provide a compelling argument that he/she will have a very difficult time saying “no” to. Get your numbers straight. Ask for a specific percentage or dollar amount when it comes to your promotion and raise.

If you are being paid less than the going rate for what you want your new role to be, easy peasy. This is the foundation of your argument.

If you are already being paid a competitive rate based on your desired title, you have a little more work cut out for you, but it is still doable. You need to be able to discuss what value you have above and beyond your title/position, what you are actually doing and how you should be compensated for that. Most people in a position to be promoted have already started to perform some tasks of the new title. Highlight those tasks you are already doing well.

3. Make a script: This may sound like overkill, but I promise you won’t regret it. Create a script that highlights your value, past and current wins, market value and specific request for promotion and salary. Memorize it. Practice it until it rolls off your tongue. Practice it with a friend. Your script should be free of phrases like “ I think” or “ I feel” or “I hope.” State your phrases with certainty and authority.

4. Watch your body language and tone: Confidence is persuasive. When you speak with authority, people tend to believe you. This is sooo very important because we communicate as much non-verbally as we do through our words. Practice power stances. Look up Amy Cuddy: “Power Poses” on YouTube.

The steps above have been proven to get my clients the raises and promotions that they want. You’ve got this. It just takes a little grit and grace!
Dr. Zoe


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Dr. Zoe is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert who recently jumped out of a perfectly good plane just for the experience.

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