4 Essential Pointers to Getting Yourself Promoted

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Do you wish you could be promoted sooner?

Chances are, you’re not alone. Especially in the finance industry, everyone is in pursuit of advancing their career as quickly as possible. You’ve looked at your company handbook and you think you’re doing everything right, but things aren’t moving quite as you’d hoped.

So what’s going wrong? In this two-part series, we go through a total of 8 tips on how to kick-start your career development.

#1: Understand that promotions are not fair and objective, no matter what they tell you.

Every company purports to have a ‘strict and rigid’ process to choose and assess candidates for promotion. And so they should – in today’s society, it’s very important to be showing that you’re giving everyone a fair, objective chance.

But that’s not what really happens.

Before you start showing me your company’s objective processes and how rigorously they stick to them, I’m not saying that they don’t. I understand the need to be perceived as fair and objective, but the notion of an ‘objective’ process is fundamentally flawed.

Promotions are not like exams, where if you meet a pass rate level, you’re certain to pass. If there were 50 superstar candidates and only one promotion spot, only one’s getting promoted. There will be a number of unspoken factors that will never make it into your company’s HR handbook, but that doesn’t mean you can pretend they don’t exist. That is, if you’re serious about wanting to get promoted.

#2: Make sure your boss knows you want to get promoted

This is not a time to be shy. In your next 1-on-1 meeting with your boss, carve out a specific time on the agenda to talk about career development. Don’t demand a promotion (dear God don’t), but instead state your goals to your boss and ask them for help.

Make it clear to your boss that you’re seeking to develop yourself professionally, and you want their help in guiding you. They will be aware of your ambition and with constant check-ins and reminders, will guide you towards your goal.

#3: Be popular with your current and future colleagues and peers.

This is not an unbridled license to schmooze, but it’s common sense that people will want to work with people that they enjoy working with. In hiring, interviewers always assess the candidates’ ‘fit’, i.e. will this person be able to fit in well with the team? In promotion, as you’re shifting the team structure, this ‘fit’ assessment will also take place, albeit perhaps in a less official way.

The reality is that your bosses will want to promote someone they know they enjoy working with. If you hate working with them, then perhaps this promotion (and team!) is not for you.

#4: Make sure you tick all HR boxes. 

Just because the official promotional guidelines don’t tell the whole story doesn’t mean you can disregard them either. Study the requirements officially needed to achieve promotion – if it isn’t clear, book a session with your HR person and walk through it. Make sure you have them all checked before you talk about promotions in the first place. Need to attend a specific training course? Sign up for it and get it done. Need to achieve a certain level of excellence in your job? Make sure you understand how it’s measured and optimise for it.

You won’t necessarily be promoted just because you’ve checked all the boxes, but you definitely can get rejected if you haven’t.

In our next instalment, we’ll go through 4 more tips on how to push your career forward. 


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