If you’re a professional woman happy with the career you’ve chosen, chances are you always keep an eye out for opportunities to move up the professional ladder in your field. Going after and getting a promotion, or more than one, is part of your long-term goal and something you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Getting a promotion generally doesn’t “just happen.” When a position suddenly opens up, you can’t just assume you’ll get it based strictly on your longevity, past accomplishments, or good relationship with your boss.
You need a strategic plan, a set of tasks you meld into your daily work activities that will get you ready when it’s time to go after a new job title and the bigger salary that goes with it.
Here are a few ways you can let your higher-ups know you are capable and ready to take on more responsibility:
1. Learn to promote yourself on an ongoing basis.
I’m not advocating you trade humility for boastfulness. Properly promoting yourself at work means you keep track of measurable accomplishments, and make sure your supervisors know about them as they occur. Make yourself memorable by doing things like volunteering for new projects, even if it means a little extra work, or highlighting your success in one project to help you sell a new one to your boss.
2. Act the part.
Part of being a boss is looking and acting like one. That means many things; from not gossiping around the coffee pot to dressing appropriately and professionally for the job you have now. Don’t be a complainer. Make every effort to be a team player. Use your wisdom and experience to mentor younger, newer workers. In essence, do the things the supervisors you admire do to make themselves memorable to their bosses.
3. Be strategic about your daily work.
Don’t just show up each morning with a “let’s see what I’m supposed to do today” mentality. Instead, plan ahead for each day to be the most efficient and productive it can be. The less time you waste, the more free time you will have to offer your boss for helping with a special project, or attending a special training program.
4. Speaking of training programs … don’t stop being a learner once you’re out of school.
Stay current on news about your industry. Take classes or attend professional programs to acquire new skills. Ask higher ups what to read and to recommend professional accreditations that would benefit you. Find a mentor, if possible, to help guide you in the right steps to taking your career beyond your current position.
5. Be willing to go out on a limb.
Propose a new project to better serve a particular client. If you see a gap in the company, don’t be afraid to identify it and present a solution. Maybe your next job will be one that doesn’t exist yet but is one you believe the company needs to create and fill. Even if your bosses don’t agree or the company doesn’t have the resources to create a new position right now, at the very least you’ve once again demonstrated your creativity, initiative, and commitment to your employer.
Don’t hope for a promotion—plan ahead and work toward one! Start implementing these five tips and you’ll set yourself up well.
For more workplace articles, read How to Lead Yourself Well and Others Better (and Why), How to Get Your Dream Job, and 5 Tips for a Great Job Interview