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Today’s Question: What tips do you have for employees who want to make a good impression and snag a promotion? What are the best ways to get on management’s radar?

Karla1. Toot Your Own Horn – But Subtly

You have to toot your own horn, because no one else will do it for you. It is
better to not use blatant or brash techniques and avoid blunt force when you toot your own horn. Use subtle techniques that put you in the spotlight:

1. Prepare for meetings so you can make intelligent comments on the points being discussed.

2. Volunteer for a project that gets visibility with a senior manager.

3. Meet your deadlines. If you run into stumbling blocks on a project, let the manager or team lead know and ask for an extension.

4. Be positive. Don’t be the negative person in the office that people want to run from. And don’t feed the negative company grapevine.

5. Respond in a positive manner, not a tentative manner, when given a task. Say, “I’ll be happy to do that” (even if you dread it).

6. Turn in mistake-free work.

7. Give discretionary effort. Discretionary effort is more than just going the extra mile – it is giving your intellectual powers, being committed emotionally to the company and/or the project, and offering creative ideas for nagging problems.

Karla Brandau,

josh2. Take on Jobs That are Larger Than Your Current Position

Show that you want to learn, grow, and be invaluable for your company. This may include working longer hours, arriving to the office early, and building informal teams of people to complete projects.

Joshua Evans, Enthusiastic You!

Barry3. Hitch Your Wagon to a Star

Find the mentor who’s moving up and help that mentor get to wherever it is they want to go.

Barry Maher,

Tim4. It’s All About Balance

First, balance listening with initiative. Spend plenty of time learning all you can from your higher-ups and peers. Find out who the key leaders are and greet them by name when you see them. When you get the chance to speak with them, find out if it’s okay to ask a few questions (ones that show you’ve gotten acquainted with the company’s mission). Embody the values of the organization, demonstrating that you fit right in.

Second, balance passion with work ethic. Demonstrate the same level of work ethic for mundane tasks as you do for those tasks you’re passionate about. Sometimes, your work on the project that isn’t glitz says more about your work ethic than anything else. If you can show passion for the smaller task you’ll do at the bottom of the career ladder, you’ll be more likely to move up and on to tasks you’re more passionate about.

Finally, balance ambition with humility. Employers love ambition, but be sure yours doesn’t make you look cocky. Many call this balance “humbitious” (humble/ambitious). Your boss may value your insight, so let them know you’ve got ideas, but that you’re hungry to help with theirs first.

Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders

Smaller image5. Be Clear About Your Ambitions

Being British (an infamously reserved culture, with an aversion to being seen bragging about personal or professional achievements), I’ve found that the key to being noticed is to be unfailingly honest about your contributions, successes, and failures.

Don’t shy away from claiming credit where it is due – and own your mistakes as well. Always reflect on both success and failure constructively and honestly with your managers. Offer to write up case studies to benefit colleagues and team members, allowing them to learn from your actions and aiding your managers in training.

Most importantly, be clear and direct about your ambitions. The number of managers I’ve worked with who’ve had no idea their employees were keen on advancement until they were explicitly told is astonishing. Never assume your manager knows you want advancement – you have to tell them.

James Armstrong, Roman Blinds Direct

Brenna6. Stay Current

Stay current with the news, including internal and external company dealings. Read, read, and read some more! Managers and executives appreciate someone who can hold a conversation with them vs. a bobblehead doll that just nods in agreement with nothing to add. I cannot emphasize enough how important and impressive it is when a young professional knows what they are talking about. Participate in intelligent conversations where you can add value and make people step back and say, “Hmmm … You’re right. I didn’t think of it that way.”

Brenna Smith, SheNOW

Leila7. Make a Plan

The first step is to have a plan. If you have a strategic plan for the direction in which you want your career to go, you will be more likely to keep acquiring new skills and working on a variety of projects that will get you noticed with your management.

Once you have your plan, you should communicate that plan to your management! Let them know that you’re hoping to acquire certain skill sets and how those skills will benefit your company and team. When they know you are planning for your long-term career success, they’ll be more likely to promote you if and when a position comes up that fits within your plan.

Leila Hock, Alignment Coaching

Laura8. Demonstrate Authentic Passion

Getting on management’s radar and getting that promotion requires authentic passion and hard work.

Be direct. Share ideas and ask for feedback from your boss. If a specific job may be available, say you’d like to be considered and ask what steps you might take to get it. Your authentic passion is crucial, because a phony egotist is easy to spot – and nobody promotes that person.

Laura MacLeod, From the Inside Out Project

Larry9. Consider the Company Culture

Because every organization has a unique culture, the best ways to get on management’s radar will vary from organization to organization. For instance, in some organizations, the way to get on the radar is to be wildly creative. In other organizations, being highly productive might be the key.

Best advice? Ask managers what they did to get noticed for their promotions.

Larry Sternberg, Talent Plus

Mike10. Practice the Skills You’ll Need for Your Next Job

People prefer to fill roles with people who have already done the role or handled the job requirements before. It reduces training time, and the hire has a better chance of succeeding. So figure out what skills you will need in your next role and start practicing them. Make sure to update your resume to reflect these new skills! It’ll be easy for management to promote you if you’ve already shown them you have the right skills for the job.

Mike McRitchie,

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