Remember To Check In
“If you have a regular cadence for checking in, make sure its frequent enough now that you are both remote. It is possible your manager may not know how to manage remotely and communicating and collaborating with a dispersed team is different than managing a team in one place,” says Anirudh Nair from The Graduate Project. “If you want to stay top-of-mind, you’ll need to check in more frequently than before.”
Show Off Your Results
Experts will tell you that during times like these, it’s important to sell yourself. “Roughly translated, that means quantifying your results,” says Micheal Cheary from recruitment site Reed. “Start by taking note of any achievements you’ve made which helped the business reach their strategic goals, and place precedence on these when it comes to speaking with your manager. But don’t just talk about why you feel you deserve to be moved up – use results to prove how important you are to the overall success of the team.” Anirudh agrees: “With the current economic downturn, many companies are trying to reduce costs and so managers are questioning all their resources – including their employee count. It’s important that your contributions are clear and well-known, hence reporting your results and progress will help remind your manager what you bring to the table. Align these with company priorities – which may have changed. Being flexible is critical during unpredictable and changing times. Your day-to-day responsibilities may look very different. By aligning where the urgent work is, you stay busy where the need is greatest.
Be Yourself (Only Better)
Experience isn’t the only thing that counts when it comes to promotions, say the experts. “Some of the positions you apply for might require additional skills or qualifications, some of which may be seen as essential – even for an internal applicant,” explains Michael. “So, instead of waiting for your employer to push you forward, take things into your own hands by getting certified on your own terms. If it’s a role you really want to do, the extra time spent studying will undoubtedly pay dividends. And even if you miss out on the job within your own company, you’ll have something extra to add to your CV if you decide to start looking elsewhere.”
Admit To Your Own Mistakes
“Promotions aren’t just about your accomplishments – they also come down to accountability,” says Michael. “Anyone can take the credit when everything’s running smoothly. But showing that you’re willing to take the blame for failure, and actively seek solutions, is an absolutely vital attribute for senior staff to possess. So, if things do start going wrong, be honest and tell your manager. Then improve your own standing by letting them know how you’re going to resolve the issue. Because it’s better that they hear it directly from you, and know you’re on top of the situation, than finding out you’ve tried to cover it up from someone else.”
Build Your Connections
“Your current employer is only one place to promote your career,” reminds Anirudh. “With the current market uncertainty, the most proactive plan should include options outside your current employer. Prioritise connecting with your broader network outside your company, so that you hear what is available elsewhere.” Not every promotion needs to be a direct step forward, adds Michael. “Moving into a new position which is at the same level as yours (but potentially in a different team or with different responsibilities) might actually work out better in the long run. Especially if there’s someone blocking the path directly above you. And, even though you might not see the new role as a step up, it might come with additional benefits, such as a pay rise or more flexible hours.”
Don’t Neglect The Day To Day
Whatever you do, don’t forget about your day job. “Big project pieces and new qualifications might seem like great ways to ensure career progression, and they will definitely help your cause – but they should never come at the cost of your day-to-day responsibilities,” warns Michael. “Remember: promotions are never a given. And if you’re struggling to keep your own responsibilities in check, you’ll have a hard time convincing your manager to place any more trust in you. Get the foundations right first. Then you can build on them.”
“The current climate poses an unpredictable time,” admits Anirudh. “If you are positive and upbeat, you can add value to your team and act as a stabilising force. It also enhances your executive presence since you exude confidence.”
Finally, Actually Ask
You should always make sure you’ve clearly stated your aspirations to your employer, argues Michael. “Set up a meeting with your manager to talk about your career direction, and outline how you see yourself moving forward, with an ideal timeframe in mind. If they know exactly what your goals are, they may be more inclined to move you up, should the opportunity arise. It also allows you to see if there are any opportunities for progression on the horizon, which could be the first step to getting your foot in the door. At the very least, asking for more autonomy or a greater sense of responsibility will help signal your intentions to move forward.”
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