September’s just around the corner. What would you like to change in your life? F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” — and it’s not hard to understand why. As the heat of summer gives way to clear air, it feels like we can get a fresh start on so many things — financial and personal.
Use the changing of seasons as motivation to make some changes at work, too. If you’re ready to progress in your career, here’s how you can take action now to get a promotion this fall.
Be Honest with Yourself
The first step you should take is a small one back. Understand that no one is entitled to a promotion because of personal reasons or simply because you’ve met a few prerequisites that aren’t associated with your workload or skills (like working at the company for a set period of time). You need to earn your promotion — and yes, you also need to want it.
Be honest with yourself: Do you want to accept more responsibility? Are you okay with a potentially heavier workload? Would you feel comfortable managing other people?
It’s important to ask these questions now and get clear on what your goals are. It’s okay to be interested in other aspects of work, or to focus on simply earning a raise rather than getting promoted.
Find a Mentor
If your goals focus on getting a promotion, find a mentor who can help get you there. This could be anyone, but they should be more experienced than you are and able to offer guidance and advice on how to develop your career.
A good mentor will offer feedback, point out weakness and give suggestions on how to improve them, share knowledge, and support the growth of you as a professional as well as your career as a whole. She can potentially help you get a promotion by connecting you with influencers and other essential professionals at higher levels within your company or others.
These relationships are usually best when they develop organically, but that doesn’t mean you need to sit idly by and wait for a mentor to wander into your path. Be proactive about connecting with people you might enjoy having as mentors, and be sincere about building relationships with those people.
Show Your Work
You’ll need to be able to prove that you’re capable of handling more responsibility and excelling in a bigger role to move forward at work. Don’t work quietly by yourself — whenever possible, show and share what you’ve accomplished with others and always be prepared to explain the value you add to the business.
Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings. Take new ideas to your supervisor. Request more responsibility in your current role, and go above and beyond in the work you produce. Show how you’re capable of growing and learning to the people in your company.
Keep It Professional
It should go without saying, but you need to be on your best professional behavior when you’re looking to get a promotion. That means not only completing your work and performing at a high level, but also avoiding office gossip or talking badly about your coworkers (or worse, your supervisors) to other employees.
Show that you’re committed to a high standard of work and results, and a high standard of how you behave in the office.
Along those same lines of speaking up, sharing ideas, and showing the value you provide, you need to work on developing a good relationship with your boss — which means being able to communicate your goals at some point.
Your supervisor won’t necessarily know your desire for career advancement unless you share it, so keep her in the loop. At the same time, you can share your achievements and what you’ve accomplished in your current position to stay on her radar. When it’s time to promote, she’ll know who to rely on.