Get That Promotion! It’s Time!
There are many times in my career when I have stood out for terrible reasons. Reasons like refusing to make coffee when I was the most junior person on the team (I thought it was demeaning and also, I didn’t know how…I like to drink tea people! Leave me alone!), to demanding a promotion before I was ready for one (“But other people MY AGE have been promoted!!”). It took awhile before I understood what really makes a person stand out in a way that is going to get them positive attention (and all of the fun promotions that follow).
If you feeling stuck, but like you are ready for some more attention this summer (but of course, of the promoting kind!) then here are some ideas that might help:
- Stand up straight and take up space. I could start with work hard and then tell a great story about yourself, but instead let’s talk about the concrete things that get us passed over in our jobs. Yes, slouching…and the un-confident non-leader like aura that you exude when you do that (trust me, I was the WORST offender!). So, I’ve been 5’8” since I was 12. It took the boys four loooooong years to catch up with me. Because of those years I developed a terrible case of tall girl syndrome, for years I kept trying to make myself smaller. I didn’t want to be the giant in the room, or the person who immediately stuck out as big and awkward. My subsequent terrible posture and desk hunchiness have made me come across as small or insecure in meetings before….and like it or not, people judge you on what you are saying with your body. If you don’t exude leader, they don’t see leader. So, take a look at how you are sitting and standing. Are you standing confidently, or are you sending the message that you don’t want to be in that meeting (or you don’t want to be called on)? Take pride in yourself and own who you are!
- Go the extra mile. Ok, I’m not going to be all Pollyanna about this, but when someone does great work, and then they proactively think about what else they can do/how to make it better…that just blows my mind as your co-worker and as your boss. And this advice is not just for some lowly intern or associate, I think it applies to anyone at any career level (we’ve all checked out of our jobs at some point and started phoning it in). When was the last time you finished your day or finished a work project and said to yourself: “Wow, I’m really proud of what I did, and I know I delivered far more than they/my boss/my company expected.”
- After you go the extra mile, toot your own horn. Seriously. Going the extra mile is great, but it is significantly less great if no one knows about it. How can you politely spread the word about your success without sounding cocky?Well, I’ve go three ideas:Idea 1: Send an email thanking everyone for their work on your project, and make sure to cc or direct the email to leadership: “Company leader, I just wanted to give three people a shout-out for their work on ABC project. Andy helped us get on budget faster than we expected, Sherry pulled together a great report, and Bill made the client so happy we closed another big piece of work! This team deserves recognition, this was a big win!” Your email implicitly shows off YOU, and you get points for spreading the wealth.
Idea 2: Drive by your bosses office. Stop by and share good news – a recent win, a great finish, a check-in on the work you just completed “Did you see the XYZ project I did (and went the extra mile on?) – I wanted to make sure you got everything and see what else you might need.”
Idea 3: Invite a mentor/leader out for a quick coffee and share some of what you have been working on (extra mile stuff!) and ask for their opinion on what you should tackle next (or share what you want to tackle next and ask for their advice). People love to be asked for advice.
- Care about people. It’s easy to want to just be there for the good, but you get noticed when you are also willing to be there for the bad. Make connections with people just because you want to connect. Ask how they are doing, see how you can help. Genuine caring cannot be faked, and it goes a really REALLY long way towards building real relationships and trust (that will also get you noticed). To do that, have a few non-work conversations every day with your co-workers, and also try and grab coffee or lunch with someone new each week. It’ll do wonders for your network (and your brand!).