“Asking for a promotion”
With companies not rushing to add jobs, you might think they’re not handing out promotions either. You’d be wrong. While they’re not handing out new titles like candy, they are selectively giving deserving people a bump up the ladder when the timing is right.
Most workers think like this woman from a Fortune 500 company who wrote me: “I know this is a bad time to be looking for a promotion. But I deserve one. What do I have to do?”
The thing is it’s not a bad time for a promotion if three things exist:
1. You deserve it and can prove it in two ways:
You’ve done an exemplary job in your current position.
You have the potential to do more great work. You’ve shown this in part by mastering your technical skills and demonstrating you have the right personal characteristics such as the ability to lead others and communicate well and are open to becoming a strong leader.
2. The increased responsibilities and bigger title and pay you want help the company.
Just like new jobs, companies will give a promotion when it fills a need. If there’s a need for you to do a job with more responsibility and it will make a difference to the bottom line, then a promotion might be in the offing. You also need the skills that new position requires.
3. The timing is right.
Even though you see a way to help the company become better and know you’re the one to do it, the company may not be ready.
One of my clients had been deserving of a promotion for several years. But before he talked to his boss about it we defined what his ideal new position would look like including duties, impact he’d have on the company overall, skills and knowledge he’d use to be successful and examples of how he’d done this in the past.
Then he sat down with his boss to tell her how he’d like to expand his role and why. He talked to her three times over the year and although his boss agreed it was time for a new title, there wasn’t an appropriate position for him. The timing was wrong.
With his boss’s blessing, he talked to other decision-makers in the company to let them know of his interest to expand his responsibilities. He campaigned on his own behalf, holding meetings with these executives who until now only knew him by name. He told them how he had made a difference in his past and present jobs and how he wanted to do more. He backed it up with specific results. Now he was on management’s radar screen.
In the meantime he complained a lot to me about how long it was taking. He almost left the company, feeling unappreciated and underutilized. But he kept doing good work and now the managers who didn’t know him before noticed. Last week, the company announced a reorganization. Guess who’s getting a promotion?
You never know what’s being discussed behind the scenes. That’s why you have to let the right people know about the good work you’re doing and your aspirations so that when the stars line up with moon, you’re the one who gets his or her deserved day in the sun.