Yes, you can be promoted this year
31 Aug, 2020

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 continues to cast its shadow on just about everything at present – and for the immediate future. With unemployment figures set to reach up to 40% of South Africa’s population, you can be excused for looking at the above cri de coeur, and for scratching your head in confusion. But it is still possible. Here’s how.

At some point in all our careers, we are more than ready for the next challenge at work, and now is no different. In spite of current constraints, there’s no reason to take your eyes off the prize. You can still move up the corporate ladder. While the old model of working at one company our entire careers has been replaced with a newer model of career advancement, it’s still possible to get ahead in your career by obtaining a promotion with your current employer with 14 key strategies.

1. Keep a log of your accomplishments

One of the hardest tasks for both workers and job seekers alike is quantifying work achievements. Keep a weekly log of your results, whether it’s:

  • how many widgets you produced or sold
  • how many customers you serviced
  • how many new clients you converted, etc.

If you can document your successes and your impact on the organisation, you will reap the rewards.

2. Maintain a strong work ethic

Examine how hard you work at your job – and we’re not talking about just showing up on time and not leaving early. Your work ethic is about how much effort you put into your job. Typically, the more you like your work – and your employer – the stronger your work ethic.

3. Have a positive attitude

You don’t have to walk around with a grin on your face all the time. In fact, don’t, or you might not be taken seriously. But having a positive and ‘go-get-‘em’ disposition is important. People like working with, and helping, co-workers with a positive attitude.

4. Show initiative

You may be very good at your job, and that is important, but do you ever try to push the limits of your work? In other words, do you ever consider better ways you could do your job – or better ways your department could function – and make suggestions to your boss?

Remember: Just don’t confuse taking initiative with knowing it all.

5. Cultivate team skills

Review how well you work in teams, examining key issues, such as:

  • communication
  • working relationships
  • team successes (and failures)

Team skills are invaluable at all levels within an organisation, and are certainly necessary for a promotion. For a reality check, you might consider asking a few teammates for some honest feedback.

6. Constantly grow your education, skills and training

You obviously had the right mix of education, skills, and training to land your current job, but have you been continuing your education, i.e. not only staying ahead of trends for your current job, but obtaining additional training that could propel you to the next level?

7. Avoid spreading gossip or encouraging it

Nothing can derail someone’s future with an organisation faster than negative information, and being involved in gossip in any way could end your career. Sometimes you can’t avoid hearing rumours, but you can choose not to spread them. And you never want to be the subject of those rumours either. Perceptions play a major role in how you are judged by your supervisors and bosses.

8. Volunteer for additional tasks or assignments

This is a great way to get your boss to notice you, and to gain additional experience and contacts. Asking for more work shows your interest and desire to help your department and company to succeed, as well as putting a spotlight on your value to the organisation.

9. Find a mentor

One of the smartest moves any worker can make is finding one or more mentors to help guide your career forward. The ideal scenario is having at least one mentor within your company and one outside of it (but within your profession or industry). A mentor is a key member of your network, someone more established in your career field who can offer advice, support, and more.

10. Research the best next step for you

One of the challenges some people face is not knowing what’s the next best career step. In fact, many people are promoted to positions outside their passions, which eventually results in job burnout and disillusionment. Take proactive steps to decide what’s best for you – and remember to not just look up, but laterally too.

11. Practise self-promotion

Tread carefully here – there’s a fine line between self-promotion and bragging. But, no one’s going to toot your horn for you, especially in today’s overworked, understaffed workplace.

12. Share your career goals with boss/supervisor

All good bosses want their workers to succeed, because their hard work makes the boss look good and helps lay the groundwork for their next promotion. Assuming you have a good rapport with your boss (and if you don’t, you should first work on building that relationship), talk to them about your career goals; you might be surprised how helpful that conversation can be.

13. Review and apply to internal job postings

Sometimes your boss has no way of promoting you – even if you are deserving of such – and if you work for a fairly large organisation, you may find the best way to obtain your next promotion is to apply for a job in a different department or division. Before doing so, though, discuss your options with your mentor(s) and your boss (assuming you have a good relationship).

14. Create your own opportunities by suggesting a new position

With all the organisational changes that occur within many employers, it’s possible that you discover a strategic gap that needs filling – with you, of course, being the perfect person to fill it. Consider writing a proposal to the executive, suggesting the new position. Even if the company does not go for the new position, you have shown your initiative, creativity, and value to the firm – and these things can only help you the next time you request a promotion.

And here’s what employers have to say on the matter…

  1. Tell me I’m wrong
  2. Bring the bad news first
  3. Be drama free
  4. Smile
  5. Take notes
  6. Never skip the office party
  7. Don’t expect to be rewarded
  8. Hold up your end
  9. Ask how you can help
  10. Have a solution
  11. Know your job, and do it

To guide you on your safety career journey, we’ve created a handy tool to plot your successful journey. View here.


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