Have you been working hard lately — putting in long hours, picking up extra projects and helping your boss with their workload? Have you been constantly going over the top for your co-workers and managers? You feel you are deserving of a raise or promotion, but it’s not review time — so does that mean you have to wait for your annual review before you can get a promotion?
Most companies typically give employees raises and promotions during their review season, but we’ve been wondering: Is it possible to secure a promotion ahead of review time? For employees who are looking to get to that next level in their career, we spoke with Career Coach Angela Copeland of Copeland Coaching to hear her advice on how employees can ensure they get a promotion before it’s review time!
Copeland says it’s often easiest to secure a promotion during review season, but doesn’t think it’s impossible to secure one in advance. How do you do that? Think about your goals at the company and what you can do to prepare yourself for the next step. If you want to be a manager, consider how that role is different than your current one and what skills or experiences your boss would want to see you have.
The more you take on new projects or responsibilities, the more likely you are to grow and gain new, valuable skills to prepare you for a bigger role. If your boss sees you taking on new challenges and asking for more work to do or constantly helping your co-workers, it helps keep you at the front of their mind when they start thinking about review season.
Manage Your Expectations
If you are seeking a promotion, Copeland says you need to pay attention to your expectations so you don’t get your hopes up about a raise or promotion. While it is possible to secure one ahead of time, Copeland points out that you should not raise your expectations ahead of time because you might not know what makes the most sense for the company financially.
“I hear from many employees who feel that their employer should pay them more for their existing work because they feel undervalued for their great work,” says Copeland. “Even in the situations where this may be true, this is a tough case to make. It’s very rare that any employer is motivated to pay an existing employee more and give them a better title to do the same job and the same work they already do today.”
While it’s fine to plan ahead and start setting yourself up to get promoted, you don’t want to set your expectations so high, only to find out the company is not able to promote you right now because of their financials.
Ensure Your Promotion
How exactly can you secure your promotion ahead of time? When considering whom to promote, your manager is going to look for the employees who have potential for future success, or seem interested in growing their personal career at the company.
First things first: make sure you boss knows your goals and how you envision your career path at the company.
“If your manager doesn’t know your ultimate goal of rising up the corporate ladder and you do great work at your current job, you may be overlooked,” notes Copeland. “It’s important to communicate with your manager about your long term goals, so they can be your advocate.”
Moreover, keep in mind that the job market is competitive — and so are your co-workers! If you want to secure a promotion, you’ve got to be on top of things. While there’s no guarantee, the best course of action is to be an all-star, team player that stands out among your co-workers.
“A-players are employees that align their work to their company’s core goals. Very often, these goals are connected to very basic targets such as generating incremental revenue,” advises Copeland. “Managers want to promote employees who are generating more for the company than what is expected. They want to promote employees who are proactively taking on increased and different responsibilities. They want to promote employees they want to keep.”
Lastly, Copeland points out that, when it comes time for your performance review, take the time to do more than the minimum required and take a proactive approach to the review process. Rather than waiting for your boss to tell you how you did and whether or not you are getting promoted, be more proactive!
“In many companies, you have an opportunity to give yourself a self-evaluation first. Take it! And, on top of reviewing yourself inside the company review system, try putting together a presentation about why you think you did great,” suggests Copeland. “Many review systems limit you to text, but a presentation allows you to include photos, graphs, and charts. You would put this much time into any other project you’re working on. Why wouldn’t you put extra time into your own career progression? It impacts your future roles and how much you make!”
If you’re looking to secure a promotion ahead of review time, focus on aligning your goals with the main goals of the company and be proactive about communicating with your boss, both about your goals and your performance. By doing so, you’ll stand out as the employee everyone wants to keep around and have on his or her team. If you can keep that on their minds, you’ll likely earn a promotion come review time!