Business Writing 2019-06-20 00:00

6 Skills Employees Need to Get Promoted


Many people want to be promoted, not only to gain more responsibility and stretch their skills, but to make more money and climb that crazy corporate ladder. At each rung on the corporate ladder, you can expect more influence and, more importantly, control over what you do each day. Plus, many other perks like bigger bonuses.

Is getting promoted out of your control? Not likely. In fact, here are six skills you should master to help you be the most promotable out of your peer group.

  1. 1. Technical ability
  2. 2. Constant development
  3. 3. Collaboration
  4. 4. Big picture understanding
  5. 5. Making it happen
  6. 6. Great communication
  7. Final thoughts

1. Technical ability

Technical ability relates specifically to your job or industry. If you’re a content writer, you need to rank high in technical writing skills. You should be a master at your craft; that means learning and growing every single day. Likewise, if you’re an engineer, you should be an expert problem-solver who understands how to make things work on the fly. Each job or industry has its own definition of technical ability that makes you stand out from the crowd.

2. Constant development

You’re not satisfied with the status quo. You want to continually develop your skills and understanding beyond what’s considered adequate. If you’re interested in moving to the next level, then you need to develop the skills necessary to succeed. What you’re doing today won’t suffice when you’re promoted. A lot of experts agree that when you prove you can operate at the next level, you’re more likely to be promoted.

Being someone who proves they are trainable can be the difference between an individual who stays complacent and stagnant in their current position and someone who moves quickly up the corporate ladder. Regardless if you’re a high-performing employee, if you don’t push yourself to continually improve, you’re likely to be overlooked for promotion. Think "growth mindset" instead of "fixed mindset."

3. Collaboration

There’s something to be said for a team player—someone who can work well with others, creating strong relationships with his or her team and across the organization. Making enemies by stepping on others won’t help you get promoted; making compatriots or cheerleaders who want to see you get promoted will.

Always treat others with the utmost respect. Your reputation and image is completely within your control. Remember that while it may feel good at the moment to lash out at a co-worker, the momentary satisfaction won’t help you get ahead in your organization.

4. Big picture understanding

If you see how your role fits into the bigger picture of your organization achieving its strategic goals, you can better direct your efforts. And when you associate each day-to-day activity with your company’s goals, you become someone with vision who can help the organization move forward.

Beyond merely understanding your business, how can you position your role or your department to help your organization grow, scale, or improve operations? When you see a clear path, you can offer strategic suggestions that help your company make more money, manage operations more efficiently, or grow in new areas. Either way, you become an integral part in its strategic direction.

5. Making it happen

Some people call this being a "yes" person, but not every project or idea deserves your "yes." Rather, when management has a direction they want to take the company in, it’s your job to "make it happen." This certainly doesn’t mean agreeing with everything that comes down from above. In fact, you shouldn’t be afraid to thoughtfully point out disadvantages or potential stumbling blocks to corporate plans.

In addition, this doesn’t mean taking on every new project that comes along. You know your strengths and weaknesses. If a project won’t help you learn something, grow your skills, increase your technical ability, or reach beyond your current position, you’re better off passing. However, if the project affords you the opportunity for high-level visibility across the organization, and you think you can achieve its objectives, then certainly jump on board.

6. Great communication

Your words are everything. What you say and how you say it communicates to management your ability to get promoted.

Be clear and concise; make every word count. You want to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about your meaning or suggestions. Avoid vague or abstract language and always choose the simplest way to say something. When you eliminate any confusion about your ideas or your intention, you’re judged instead on the value of your suggestions rather than their clarity.

Give no one a reason to find fault in your language or how you wield it. Because how you use language shows your ability to get your thoughts across in a relatable, understandable way.

Part of great communication today includes the written word. You’re judged by your emails, your presentations, your reports, and myriad other ways of communicating your thoughts and ideas. If you’re not strong on written communication, consider development courses or an online editing tool to help you improve. Because, remember, your words tell people who you are and what you think.

Final thoughts

Do you know why you should be promoted? If not, you’re not ready. When you can create a business case for your promotion, you understand the value you bring to your company and how you can help it succeed.

Part of creating a good business case is knowing the status of the economy. If the economy is in a slump and sales are stagnated, it’s probably not a good time to ask for a promotion. Rather, when you clearly understand how you can generate income, create efficiencies, or otherwise save or make money for your corporation, then you’re ready to be promoted.

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