Time and time again I hear the following from students in my career advancement workshops:
- “My work speaks for itself…I shouldn’t have to tell anyone about my skills.”
- “Why did they hire from the outside, I am already doing what’s required of that position?”
- “Why did they get the job, I have more skills and experience than they do?”
- “How come my name is never mentioned when promotions come up in conversation?”
The answer is…you need to promote your skills and experience. Everybody quotes the old saying, “It not what you know, but who you know.” That’s not quite right. The correct saying should be, “It not what you know but who knows what you know.” The people that can make decisions or have input on your career need to know what you know. This will only happen if you promote, promote, promote your special skills and experience.
Here are five secrets you can use to promote yourself for promotions:
1. Volunteer to Make a Difference
Volunteer for assignments that expose your skills. Look for especially challenging projects that other people have declined.
Also volunteer to mentor others within your organization. This will show and develop your leadership, management, and interpersonal skills. Keep management posted on your challenges and how you are working with the person you are mentoring to overcome these challenges.
Volunteer to write a department or organizational newsletter. This is another way to benefit a large group with your ideas while showcasing your skills and ideas.
2. Be a Solution Creator not a Problem Maker
Anybody can find problems within organizations. My experience is that you don’t need to find them…they will find you. Sometimes they have a special skill of finding problems and reporting them.
Develop the skill of looking at these problems as “opportunities for advancement,” step back and analyze the opportunity, and develop ideas for overcoming the problem. Make sure you communicate these solutions during meetings, e-mails, memos, and conversations with management. You will soon be looked upon by management as someone who can overcome obstacles and make things happen within the organization.
3. Handle the Next Level at This Level
If you are a manager and want to become a vice president then, start working like a vice president. Find a vice president that is open to mentoring you for the next level. Remember, that vice president will not be promoted to the next level unless the organization sees that the vice president has developed someone to take their spot. It might as well be you. Plus you can lighten their work load.
Explain to the vice president what you want to accomplish so that everyone has a clear understanding and that this is a win-win situation for all involved.
I hear, “I’m too busy already to do this.” Well, let me ask you, “How badly do you want the promotion?” We are all busy. It’s up to you to enhance your time management and delegation skills so that you can take on these tasks that will prepare you for the next level.
4. Announce That You Want It!
Many times employees miss out on promotions because the decision makers and career influencers do not know they are interested in being promoted.
Announce that you want to go to the next career level!
Take time to sit down with your supervisor, manager, director, etc. and let them know you are interested in going to the next level. Ask them for their honest assessment of your skills. Then ask what you need to do to be ready when the next career opportunity appears.
Also announce your career aspirations to influencers in the Human Resources Department. Remember the more people they can hire from the outside, the less work they need to do. Make it easy for them to hire you.
Announce it to any one who can influence the decision for your promotion.
5. Join Groups to Accelerate Promotions
Join committees within the organization. This shows management that you care enough to make a difference.
Also join professional groups and associations. Professional groups and associations are a perfect way to let influencers outside your organization about your skills. Don’t just join, participant in the association’s activities to show your creativity, teamwork, and other skills.
One of the most important groups that you could ever join…is Toastmasters. This is a worldwide organization with over 175,000 members dedicated to helping it’s improve their public speaking, evaluation, think-on-your-feet, and leadership skills. The main reasons you should join Toastmaster is the following:
- Toastmasters give you the confidence to approach any opportunity with confidence.
- Toastmaster gives you the speaking skills to stand up in front of group and present your point in a persuasive manner while others shy away from this opportunity.
- You develop your leadership skills by learning how to do effective, positive, and encouraging feedback and evaluations while learning how to empower the receiver to do better.
- You have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills by volunteering for positions at the club, area, state, regional, and international level. I always say if you can’t get the skills at your organization, you can get it at Toastmasters.
Join and let your organization know you’ve joined these groups. I remember a student telling me he wanted the job of Network Administrator in a large organization. He never seemed to get past the first interviews. Then he joined Toastmasters. He shared with me he gained the confidence and think-on-your-feet skills needed to master his interviews. Shortly after joining Toastmasters, he landed his dream job as Network Administrator at a major hospital. It can make the difference for you.
I challenge you to apply these techniques. You will see immediate results and go to the next level.