Receiving a promotion is a badge of honor: it’s a tangible way of management say they’ve recognized the hard work you’ve put in, and you’re ready to step up in the workplace. But above that, a promotion is an excellent bargaining chip. If you decide to stay at your current job, it helps you negotiate a raise; if you apply somewhere else, it gives you leverage in negotiating a starting salary. Here are some of the cleverest ways you can maneuver a promotion for yourself that you may not have thought of.
1. Show Your Sense of Humor
You don’t have to be a standup comedian in the office, or even try and recreate The Office with your sense of humor. But when your manager can see you have the ability to process heavy situations with ease and lightness, it cuts the tension immediately. It’s not enough just knowing how to do the job, but how to keep people in a good mood when the going’s tough.
2. Be Gracious towards Other Employees
Not everyone’s on the same level mentally, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically, and if you can recognize that, you’ll get much further ahead. Say you’re showing off your Robin Williams-like sense of humor: a gracious move would be to include others in the jokes but not make them the butt of the jokes. Some things are better left unsaid.
3. Make Life Easier for Your Boss
You don’t have to necessarily fetch coffee every morning or turn into Bob Benson from Mad Men, but you should be looking for ways to make your boss happy. This goes beyond just showing up and doing your job, because that’s expected of you. Instead, learn about your boss and what makes her tick, and then have a solution already in place by the time she brings up a potential problem.
4. Write Down Your Progress
If the question comes up of whether or not you need a promotion, management is going to be ticking off all the boxes why not (it’s almost always just a money-saving move — if they don’t promote you, they don’t have to pay you more). Nobody will be keeping track of your accomplishments — or care! — as much as you do, so keep a running tally in place so you can whip it out at the drop of a hat.
5. Ask for More
One of the classic signs you’re about to be fired is you start getting handed less and less responsibility. Management is getting wary of what you’re now capable of, and they don’t feel comfortable entrusting you with company-sensitive work. The opposite of this, of course, is being tasked with more and more of a vital role. Before you ask for more responsibility and work, make sure to ask yourself if you’ve been doing what you already have really well.
6. Show up to Happy Hour
This seems counterintuitive: go out with your coworkers after work and share a few pitchers of beer. But it’s not about the alcohol or low prices, it’s about showing you have the ability to be a team player. Very few bosses like to promote employees who operate as lone wolves, and would much rather bump up people who fit in seamlessly into the office culture.
7. Update Your Skills
Know who gets passed over for promotions? The person who’s content to do what’s asked of them, and nothing more. No matter what profession you’re in, the information keeps changing and it’s up to you to stay on top of it. Go for refresher courses, study for a new degree or certificate, and sign up for training classes.