Career Promotions: Prepare-Secure-Perform

Probably not many people would reject the idea of advancing along their career path by achieving promotions. Most of us would probably consider it a good thing–a sign that we’re growing and progressing professionally, not to mention (we hope) financially.

The process involved in preparing for and securing a promotion, as well as performing in the new role after you land it, isn’t overly complicated on the face of it but can have a number of nuances and challenges, depending on your situation. While reams can be written on this subject (and have been), I’d like to share a few tips and hints that you might find useful in your pursuit of a career promotion.

Career Promotions: Preparation

  • Make sure you’re really ready to move up in your organization. It’s fine to visualize yourself in the desired role, but you need to be able to back that up with substance. Wishful thinking isn’t enough!
  • Nurture your network (internal as well as external) to garner as much support as you can for your upward move. If you don’t already have a functioning internal network, moving up will be more of an uphill battle than you want to face.
  • Understand how office politics work and ensure that you’re prepared for that. You might find those politics distasteful, but if they’re a fact of life, you’d better know how to work within or around them.

Career Promotions: Securing One

  • Once you’ve done your homework (the preparation), begin keeping an eye out for potential promotions to pursue. Listen and observe carefully to gather possibly useful information that might not be readily apparent to a casual onlooker.
  • Avoid assuming that because you’re interested in a particular promotion, the people in power will somehow know that without your needing to do anything more to communicate your interest.
  • Communicate in the appropriate way and time with influencers in your network to sound them out for advice and possible contacts with promotion decision-makers who are not in your network.

Career Promotions: Performance

Congratulations! You’ve landed that sought-after promotion, and you’re on Cloud 9!

Okay, now come back to earth for a moment. If you get a honeymoon period in the new job, it might not last very long. If the situation is time-sensitive for any reason, there might not be a honeymoon period at all. So what’s your next step?

Author Elizabeth Grace Saunders offers some good suggestions about the post-promotion phase, in her article, “3 Counterintuitive Things You Should Do After You Get a Promotion.”

  1. Define what you’re not going to do anymore. You probably need to let go of or delegate some of your former duties to take on the new ones.
  2. Depend on other people more. You need a good support team–not only inside the company but in your personal life as well–to function at peak effectiveness.
  3. Cling to your core priorities. That includes more sleep, more exercise (or maintaining what you’ve been doing), and more time for relaxing with family and friends.

P.S. On a personal note, my planned move from California to Massachusetts is in its final phase now. We’ve bought a place there and sold our place in California. The scheduled move-out date is May 23, but we won’t hit the road for our cross-country trek until May 26 to avoid the Memorial Day weekend traffic. Anticipated arrival in Massachusetts is around June 2 or 3. I will be offline for probably a few weeks around the time of the move, although I hope to have at least limited email access.

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