5 Steps to Get a Promotion When You Just Started Working

To continue where I left off on Wednesday – when I published the article; Stop Being Afraid To Negotiate Your Salary. Today we’ll talk about how to get a promotion when you’ve just started working!

So let’s dive into the promotion part!

You’ve started working, and you were hoping for things to move quickly. They told you that you have high potential, that you will move quickly throughout the company, and that they value you as an employee.

Well, that’s a great start!

But then, how do you actually get your promotion? How do you actually get things to move quickly? Promotions don’t fall from the sky (unfortunately), so that means you have to work for it!

Last week I got my promotion, completely unexpected. On average it would take 1.5-2 years before you would get promoted, for me it took 10 months. I was happy, overwhelmed, and still negotiated my salary even though I was pleasantly surprised. Eventually I got a 20% pay rise, yay!!

I’ve discussed how you should ask for a raise (& get it), read my practical steps lined out here!

We’re going over what to do, how to ask, and how to respond when getting your promotion.

Here’s how I got my promotion

1. Do All The Right Things

Note that I didn’t say; do all things right, but rather focus on doing the right things. 

Okay, first things first, let’s start at the beginning.

You’re working very hard, you’re trying to keep up with everything and everyone, and you want to prove yourself. There is one important thing to keep in mind: are you doing all the right things?

You don’t want to be that Busy Bee that is always working on an analysis, that no one is asking for or looking at. This is one of my colleagues, he’s been in the same position for over 10 years now. He works 11 hours per day simply out of habit, don’t be that person – for your own good!

So what you do want to do? Do the things that matter most. You want them to notice that you’re working hard and putting in all the work, so the first step is to do the things that matter most. When you’re working on something, ask yourself: what is urgent, and what is important.

Urgent matters are things that need your immediate attention. Mostly they are concerned with meeting someone else’s goals. Important matters are things that lead us to achieve our goals. So we want to ideally only focus on things that are Urgent & Important first and on Not Urgent & Important second.

Urgent Not Urgent
ImportantDo Plan
Not ImportantDelegate Eliminate

Working according to this matrix will lead to you be appreciated by colleagues + your manager, for getting the urgent things done first and focusing on the non-urgent matters second. That’s exactly what we want!

2. Networking Like a Boss

Also, your networking skills are important. This doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone and you have to be chatting all the time. It’s more about being friendly to everyone so that when some promotion or other job opening comes into play, they’re thinking about you.

I mean, who would you rather work with? Some you know that you know and that is friendly, someone that’s not friendly, or someone you don’t know. Assuming all other factors are similar, you would probably go for the one that you know and is friendly!

3. Be the Helping Hand

You want to be a team player – someone that is always ready to help others where they need it. You’re not only networking like a boss, but besides being friendly to everyone you offer to help them.

Your coworkers greatly appreciate it when you offer them help, often times they don’t even need it – it’s just to know that you’re there.

In my current position this is easy, since I’m literally the helping hand for three people on the team. Sometimes there are other people who need my help as well, just make sure it’s okay with your manager.

The great thing is, you’re not only building relationships, but when you’re coming up short on time people want to help you as well!

4. Learn and Be Open

Besides that, try to always be taking learning opportunities with both hands. If your skills need serious updating or you want to learn a new skill, ask for education or classes to support this. If you’re learning new skills and working on maintaining your acquired skills, you will get ahead.

If there are some things that you don’t know, good! This is your opportunity to learn! Be open and take it with both hands.

5. Focus on the Basics

Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to the simple things. Be on time, don’t take more holidays than accepted or allowed, and don’t promise something you can’t deliver.

If you focus on this, together with the other basics that we discussed before, you bet that your team will appreciate you!

So, in short:

  • You’re doing all the right things – measured by excellent reviews
  • You’re networking – measured by attending gatherings and connecting with colleagues
  • You’re a team player – measured by offering help to your coworkers
  • You’re upping your skills – measured by classes or courses taken
  • You’re focusing on the basics 

All You Have To Do Is Ask

As already mentioned how to negotiate your salary, all you have to do is ask! Some employers are recognizing your qualities and efforts, so they offer you a promotion.

Not everyone is like that. If everyone is praising you for your performance in your current job, you might have to tell them that you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

How I did it; I talked to my boss casually one day. Asking him how long it takes on average before someone gets promoted. Then we continued the conversation talking about my ambitions in the short and long term. It’s very possible to talk with your boss about opportunities, so they are aware that you want to be promoted. In that way, they’ve already thought about it and are not completely surprised when you have your performance review.

Look at your options

When there’s no opportunity for promotion within your current job, you can look at your options elsewhere in the company or even with other companies.

That doesn’t mean that you have to take those offers at other companies, it just means that you can see what other companies offer in terms of monetary compensation.

For me, I put my Linkedin status on; interested for new career opportunities. Recruiters could send me new job offers, to check what kind of salary they offered. That way I’m making sure that I didn’t get undervalued there.

So in my conversation with my manager, I told him that I received some job offers through LinkedIn and they offered such and such benefits. Then, he immediately told me that he had gotten a margin from the company. He could give this to me but that was all he could do. I still tried to get some extra holidays or somethings like this, but the salary was all he could do.

This means that you should always explore your options, if you’re not satisfied with your salary you could ask for other things like extra vacation days or extra budget for your pension. The manager is here to serve your needs.

Set Deadlines

When your manager is not able to give you a promotion – yet, set a deadline. Ask your manager: okay, I understand that it’s not the right timing now. When can I expect to be promoted?

In this way, you are still motivated and you show your manager that you want it + you are willing to work for it!

How did you get your promotion? What tips are you implementing?

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