In another life I was a manager at Microsoft (both in the US and Ireland) and during that time I learned more than a few things on the job, from formal training & most importantly from various mentors that have served me well to this day.
So what was the big thing I learned in terms of upward career progression?
You don’t ask for a promotion, you show you are already doing it
In my experience, a promotion isn’t because you show potential to operate at a more senior level, it’s recognition you already are.
Doing your job well isn’t justification for a promotion, it’s justification to keep your job, and keep getting paid.
Show don’t ask
So what is one recommended strategy?
Let your manager know your goals and aspirations
It’s a good idea to ensure you and your manager are on the same page in terms of your career. Setting clear goals and expectations means your manager can effectively assist and help you reach them.
If you don’t regularly have connection meetings or 1:1’s then take the initiative to set one up. Keep in mind that your career is 80% your responsibility and 20% your managers, so you will often need to take the lead.
Ask your manager what are the core competencies/responsibilities of someone at the next level or more senior than you.
This will allow you to clearly understand the expectations, responsibilities and deliverables at the next level and what you will need to do to progress.
It also sets expectation with your manager who can look for opportunities for you to develop the competencies & skills to support your progression.
Along with your manager identify key deliverable & activities
Again, at least in my experience, a promotion isn’t because you show potential to operate at a more senior level, it’s recognition you are already are operation at that level.
To show you are capable of consistently & repeatably operating at a more senior level work with your manager to take on deliverables and focus on growth areas to support this. Remember, doing something once is not justification for a promotion. The key is to show you can consistently do so.
Set realistic timelines and expectations
In larger organizations promotions aren’t always just a matter of deserving one, there could be budget factors, availability, time limitations etc. Discuss this with your manager and be understanding that they cannot always promote you right away, but by working with them you should trust they are working to help you too.