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In most industries, the chance for a promotion comes around once in a blue moon. So when they are available, it’s important to grab the opportunity with both hands.

In today’s competitive work climate, it can be hard to stand out amongst your peers, even if you’re producing stellar work at a consistent rate. Getting the kind of attention that earns you a raise in both profile and salary is difficult and often requires you to go above and beyond.

That might sound scary, but it’s not impossible!

In today’s article, we’ll cover five tips for standing out when promotions are on offer and making sure your hard work gets rewarded by your boss.

Understand what your boss is looking for

The first step to earning that promotion you crave is to know exactly what your boss wants from the role and the person in it.

The promotion could move you up to a pre-existing position or give you the opportunity to make a new role your own. Whatever the case, you need to prove you’ve got the credentials to fit that title, beyond just a hard-working, can-do attitude. Commitment and enthusiasm are important, but they’re not the difference between you and a corner office.

If you’re unsure about what they might want from the role, just ask! There’s no crime in being curious, and your enthusiasm for the position might make your boss take notice of you during the hiring process. Considering asking the following questions:

  • What kind of person do you think best suits the role?
  • What new responsibilities would this position involve?
  • What did the last person who did this role do well?
  • How could it be done better?

Too often, great candidates miss out on opportunities they’d be perfect for out of fear of not rocking the boat or seeming overly ambitious. You might not get the job this time, but you’ll show the initiative that puts you at the front of the line next time or puts you into consideration for entirely new roles.

Prove you’re a leader and teacher

While good work stands out, universal praise from your peers goes that little bit further in the hunt for a promotion.

Although we might have spent the year divided by remote working, teamwork has never been more important. From creative industries to financial work, businesses encourage collaboration across all departments to breed cohesion in their business. Putting yourself at the forefront of that and establishing your credentials as a trainer are great ways to get noticed.

Take any opportunity you can to train new staff. Whether they’re just getting started in the industry or could use a few pointers on how things are done around your workplace you should always be open to help. This helps display a keen interest in the prosperity of the business and the career prospects of your colleagues. We’re far beyond the age of backstabbing to get ahead, we should all lift ourselves up to achieve as a collective!

Learning Revolution founder Jeff Cobb recently spoke on this topic, proclaiming the importance of online education as a tool for both business and individual progression.

As education in the workplace changes to match the less-defined structure of modern businesses, there is a “tremendous opportunity for leading staff members to make their mark as educators.” While traditional managers might not have the time to devote to complex training programs, colleagues can easily drop into a Zoom call or put together a training manual in an afternoon, making a lasting impact on the business.

There’s more scope for on-the-job education than ever before. Putting yourself forward to educate colleagues puts you in an employer’s line of vision and displays a desire to make yourself more adaptable.

Want to train yourself? Check out the Interview Coach blog on areas employees should upscale in!

Take leading roles in committees

In addition to upscaling your teammates on industry developments and new tools, it’s important to show you care about the long-term future of the business by offering yourself and your time to company committees.

Whether it’s planning social events, arranging charity days, or prepping meeting rooms, taking the responsibility of key committee roles within the business shows you have a passion for making this role mean more.

It’s a brilliant, simple way of diversifying your existing role to show you can handle an increased workload and new challenges. It might not be the most taxing position, but party planning and collecting sponsorship payments demands a certain level of organisation and perseverance. That doesn’t go unnoticed by higher-ups and become an important part of your reputation.

Company cultures are increasingly important parts of businesses (particularly startups looking to diversify themselves, as this Forbes article details). Taking a leading role within them is one of the best ways to make yourself integral to the success of the business.

Take ownership of projects (even if you’re not a manager)

With results meaning more than individual contributions in the modern workplace, it’s important to take any opportunity you can to stand out. Any time you’re given a leading role on a project make sure you take ownership and get your fingerprints all over it.

Now, there is a clear difference between taking ownership of a project and imposing yourself on one. Taking over when you don’t have the correct authority will only frustrate your colleagues and leave you fighting an uphill battle to earn this kind of responsibility again. Rather than saying “my way or the highway”, volunteer yourself as a leader and make yourself invaluable with great ideas and a presence.

As motivational speaker Brian Tracy notes, employees looking to stand out should “become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” This can only be accomplished by displaying greatness in the role, not just a desire to be a leader.

If you’re handed a key role in something, dive right in. Don’t do the bare minimum to push it through. Dedicate those extra hours and put in the research out of the office. This project could be the big break you need to get noticed by upper management or a benchmark for how things are done in your company, and that lasting influence is invaluable. Whether you’re a manager or not, it’s time to start acting like one.

Track and document your achievements

No one is going to champion your achievements more than you, especially in a competitive workspace. If you want to stand out for that promotion, you need to start documenting your achievements.

This process can be as simple as keeping a diary or collecting all your best work into a slideshow ready to wow your superiors. However, data talks, so the clearest way to display your achievements that will get you noticed for a promotion is to define that great work in terms of tangible impact.

Show how your work has increased revenue, traffic and exposure of your business. Learn about the importance of exposure, views, clicks and other modern metrics, along with traditional ones such as revenue. If you can show the direct impact you’re having on the bottom line of the business through numbers, you’re bound to impress.

The candidates that get promotions more often than not know how to prove their worth to the company. If you can condense that into tangible data even less numbers-savvy managers can understand, you’re one step closer.

People will say the key to standing out and getting a promotion is going above and beyond and staying late every night. That’s simply not true. There’s plenty you can do to make a name for yourself without sacrificing your private life.

 Employers want to bring trustworthy people who have displayed initiative and passion into their inner circle. Show you care about the business by doing what you can to upscale your teammates, put everything into key projects and stay across industry developments. There’s no need to work yourself into the ground.

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