There's no real trick to earning the promotion or raise that you want. It's a matter of being proactive, quantifying your results, communicating your objectives to your boss, and being the kind of person that others want to work with by showing integrity, a positive attitude, and by being a team player.
Respect is earned, not bestowed. It may be a cliché, but it's true, and the same applies to promotions and salary raises. Job promotion is not something that just happens, like the turn of the seasons. You have to work at it and demonstrate to your superiors that you deserve a raise or a promotion.
It can be a tricky balancing act. You need to show that you are confident but not arrogant, positive but not sycophantic, hardworking but not a doormat. The following tips will help you to land the promotion or raise you want while still being able to look at yourself in the mirror every day.
1. Plot Your Career Path
First, decide on your long-term goal. Figure out where you want to be professionally in a year, five years, and ten years. Then start making a plan to accomplish your long-term goal. Think of it as a map that you're using to plan a long road trip. Decide where you want to be, and then figure out a way to get there.
The map metaphor is apt because you might not always be moving upward. Sometimes, in order to get where you want to go, you may need to make a lateral move. That's okay, so long as it’s a move from which you can continue on your chosen career path.
2. Find A Mentor
Better yet, find more than one. Ideally, you should find one mentor within the company you work for and one outside your company but still within your profession. If your company already has a formal mentoring program, that's a good place to start, but you can still seek out a mentor even if your company doesn't have such a program.
A mentor should be someone whose work you admire, who is further along on a career path similar to the one that you want to travel, and who can guide you along your way. A mentor can help you make useful connections and support you on your own professional journey by offering you advice and encouragement.
3. Show Integrity
This may be the most important item on the list. Your rise to the stop won't be satisfying if you have to become someone that you don't like in order to get there. Moreover, you're considerably less likely to be promoted if you demonstrate yourself to be someone the higher-ups can't trust. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be 100% committed to every task. Formulate a personal code of ethics and adhere to it strictly.
Many of the tips on this list could be construed as "selling" yourself to your bosses, which is fine if what you're selling is your abilities and achievements, but that doesn't mean that you should "sell out" your principles. Never do something that you're not proud of in order to get ahead. No raise or job promotion is worth the cost of your soul.
4. Be A Team Player
We've all heard horror stories about how the world of business is a cutthroat, dog-eat-dog world wherein you have to step on others to get ahead. This is a scary-sounding prospect, especially when you're trying to conduct yourself and your business dealings with integrity.
The good news is, in this case the cliché is often entirely wrong. The people who more often get promoted are not those who mow over everyone in their path but those who work well with others and who share credit for success with the whole team. Success for the entire team means success for individual team members, and those who help others often help themselves by impressing the bosses with their caring and resourcefulness.
5. Work Hard And Deliver Results
Work ethic is important but it's only one ingredient in your recipe for success. If you're going to make the case directly to your boss that you deserve a promotion or a raise, it's immensely helpful if you can back up your claims with objective facts and documented evidence. Take ownership of the good work you do. Keep accurate records of your positive results. When you make the case to your boss, prepare visual aids so that you can show your boss how productive you've been in addition to merely telling.
6. Be Proactive And Take Responsibility
Doing the minimum amount of work that's expected of you isn't going to impress anyone. Be proactive in volunteering to take on new tasks or projects before they've been assigned to you. Ask your supervisor what you can do to help. Distinguish yourself from your colleagues by taking the initiative.
Be warned, however, this doesn't mean taking on more than you can handle. Stretching yourself too thin will make you tired and stressed, and your work will almost certainly suffer as a result. You may even miss deadlines, which will hurt your reputation as someone who is dependable. If you're offered more work than you can handle, learn how to say no and be prepared to explain why.
If you're assigned more work than you have time for, have a dialogue with your supervisor about what you can do to make your workload more manageable.
Once you have your workload established, follow each task through until the end. Take responsibility not only for your successes but also for your failures. If something goes wrong and you're at fault, own up to it rather than pointing fingers at someone else, and bring it to your supervisor right away so that the two of you can come up with a solution together before the problem gets out of hand.
7. Keep Learning New Skills
This doesn't mean that you have to earn multiple advanced degrees, but many industries, such as technology and medicine, are continually evolving. Keeping pace with the changing professional landscape will not only help you at your present job but also make you more relevant when the higher-ups start thinking about promotions. Seek out and take advantage of continuing education opportunities. Some companies help pay tuition or offer other forms of assistance, so ask your supervisor about what aid might be available to you. This may also be an opportune moment to mention to your boss that you're seeking to improve yourself in hopes of moving up in the company.
8. Always Be Professional
"Professional" is a rather broad term, but in this instance, it means presenting and comporting yourself in a way that reflects well on the company.
Consider this: rarely, if ever, will people think less of you for dressing more formally than the occasion requires. That doesn't mean that you should go to work every day in a tuxedo (unless, of course, your job requires it), but you can dress up even your casual business attire a little to help you stand out in a crowd. In any case, wherever your business attire falls on the casual/formal continuum, your appearance should always be neat, clean, and presentable.
However, professionalism is about more than your appearance; it is also about your behavior. Don't get involved in office gossip. Not only can you hurt others by spreading rumors about them, but you can also hurt yourself and your integrity. If your supervisors hear you gossiping about coworkers, they may wonder what you might say about them if you become their contemporary. You should also avoid doing anything that may cause you to become the subject of office gossip, and if you're conducting yourself with integrity, you shouldn't have any problem in that regard.
9. Look On The Bright Side
You may be the most diligent, proactive, dependable member of the office team, but if you aren't a pleasant person to be around, you aren't going to get that promotion. Greet coworkers and clients alike with a smile; not only will it improve the overall mood of the workplace, but the very act of smiling can also make you feel more cheerful.
Your attitude, whether positive or negative, can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Assuming inevitable failure impedes success. Try to view difficulties as challenges to demonstrate your problem-solving skills to your supervisor.
If you have a legitimate grievance to bring against a coworker, you should do so, but don't whine and complain about the poor quality of others' work or blame others when something goes wrong.
10. Be Assertive
Don't be afraid to let your boss know that you're looking for a promotion or a raise. Even if you follow all the other advice on this list, your supervisor is probably not a mind-reader and may not pick up on your hints that you want a promotion or a raise unless you expressly say so.
However, that doesn't mean that you should be pushy about it. Be assertive, but not aggressive. Look for opportune moments to discuss your long-term career goals with your boss. A performance review or evaluation is one example of a good time to start the conversation. Building a rapport with your boss or establishing a mentor relationship may help the conversation develop more naturally.
Remember, earning a job promotion shouldn't require you to change who you are, but it does require you to be open to personal and professional growth. Always be yourself, but try to become your best self.