If a promotion is one of your goals in the months ahead, it’s important to start laying down the foundation now. Doing good work isn’t always guaranteed to get you noticed, which is why you should build your case before review season arrives. After all, if you aren’t your own advocate, why would anyone else in your company come to bat for you?
As CEO of YESS! Sue Hawkes says: If you don’t have a strategic outline for your pursuit, your chances of success are slim to none. But understanding how to do this can be intimidating, no matter what level you’re currently at in your industry, and asking for a promotion can be incredibly stressful. That’s why we tapped some inspiring boss ladies for their strategies on how to get promoted fast.
Start documenting your accomplishments
Much like winning an argument with a friend over trivia, without proof, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on. That’s why Heather Marianna, the founder and owner of Beauty Kitchen, urges professionals to start documenting their accomplishments ASAP. “This is important because you will be able to reiterate to your boss how valuable you are by showcasing your concrete contributions to the company — whether that be money you’ve saved them, money you’ve made them or some other impressive thing you’ve done,” she explains.
Ask for an informal review
You can’t read your manager’s mind, but you can ask for some of his or her time to understand how they feel about your performance before review season. Heather Rohrer, a physician’s assistant and owner of Center for Aesthetic Medicine and Human Performance in Las Vegas, encourages professionals to schedule an informal review. “Don’t just assume you know what your boss is looking for, ask them, so you can be transparent and on the same page,” she says. And don’t just stop there — continue to look for ways to improve. “Take notes in meetings and ask questions,” Rohrer adds. “This show that you are committed to your company.”
Become a better leader
For Marianna, leadership potential is the number one thing she looks at when promoting someone on her staff. “Show initiative and take ownership of your department. It is important to have strong leaders in place to grow a business,” she continues. “Remember, individuals get promotions, not groups of people.”
Find a mentor
If you don’t already have a mentor you can speak to candidly about the tenure of your career, Hawkes says it’s time to source one. “This can be a person inside or outside your organization that can sponsor your success and help open doors for you,” she explains. Keep in mind that your mentor doesn’t have to be someone directly related to your industry, either, since someone a bit removed can often be a better sounding board. “They can recommend you for things, share opportunities with you that you would not get otherwise, and introduce you into new networks,” Hawkes adds. “If your mentor is outside your organization, just make sure to find internal advocates who can help you navigate office politics.”
Ask what it will take to get promoted…
Though the internet might have some helpful advice (you’re reading this, after all), Ju Rhyu, the CEO and cofounder of Hero Cosmetics, says the best way to get promoted is to ask how to get there. “Simply asking your manager or a mentor what it takes to get promoted is a quick way to help set yourself up for your new role,” she says. Also, by bringing this up, you demonstrate that you are ready for more responsibility.
…then ask for it.
Once you’ve done the research, established your case, and exceeded the goals — there’s nothing left to do but ask for what you worked so hard to reach. Though Crystal Frehner, the owner of Hottie Hair Salon & Extensions, says it seems like obvious advice, actually asking is the toughest part for most people. “If you don’t ask, you can’t receive,” she says, adding, “If you’re boss doesn’t believe you are ready for a promotion, they will hopefully work with you to get there.”