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Promoted! Setting Goals for Getting Ahead at Work

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

You’ve been in your job for a couple of years now and have only seen a few people get promoted. If this is the case, you’re probably wondering what it takes to get ahead at your company. Each company and manager is different but, like with most things, it helps to have a plan if you’re trying to get promoted. Consider taking these three steps to get started working toward a promotion at your current company.

Know what you bring to the table. Simply put, you’re more likely to get promoted if you demonstrate what value you bring to the organization. Do you want to show your manager why they should promote you? Come up with the things you do that cause your manager to look good to their manager. This involves you sitting down and listing out your accomplishments with clear deliverables, timelines and end results. Wherever you can use numbers to justify your conclusions the better.

Talk to your manager. After you’ve come up with all the ways you make your manager look good, then you need to present these to your manager. Also, set some goals you intend to achieve by a certain end date, and then reach those goals. Stay in front of your manager and make sure they know you think you deserve a promotion based on these facts. Because many promotions are made in advance of when you find out about them, start planting seeds now.

Simply ask. Sometimes, employees are shy about clearly asking what it takes to get promoted at a company. When you talk to your manager, ask them what steps you’ll need to take to earn a promotion. Inquire about specifics such as the results desired, the timeline and measurable outcomes. You need this information to set goals for getting a promotion so be up front about asking for them.

When you’ve wrapped up the conversation with your manager, ask to meet each quarter to evaluate where you are and how you’re progressing. This kind of proactivity will stand out among your peers. Be open to their feedback, and check in with your peers to as they may have unique insights about what you can do better. Taking these kind of actions eventually pays out in the long run and shows the whole management team you are determined to succeed.

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