Career Advice

Promotion Season Is Coming: Tips On How To Get Promoted

If you want to get promoted, the best months for it are June, July and January if you work in the United States, and for the global go-go types, July, September and January, according to LinkedIn’s research.  January is the best month overall, though promotions, especially for younger workers are increasingly coming throughout the year.

Knowing which months are more likely than others to be ripe with promotions is just the start. You also need to know what impresses the brass where you work – and how to project an attitude that says I’m a leader; I’m ready to run this team.

“Consistency in behavior is key to long-term success. Those that treat others professionally no matter what the circumstances, that dress professionally, …and that consistently perform to exceed their supervisors expectations are the ones that get promoted,” said Carolyn Thompson, an executive coach who works with Goodman & Co. CPAs  in suburban Washington, D.C.

Thompson, who self-published the book “Ten Secrets to Getting Promoted” last year, said it’s not easy to set yourself up for a promotion in just a few months – so you may not hit the July jumble of jump-ups. But you can start working on your behaviors and results now so you are ready to be promoted by January.

  1. Be the most productive person in the room. Exceed your employers’ expectations and get more done every day. For young people, this means deferring your personal texts and IM until you’re outside of work, said Thompson, or using them only to make yourself more productive on work tasks.
  2. Discover what you need to succeed. Schedule an appointment with your boss to find out what you need to focus on improving to earn a promotion. Listen carefully, and take notes. Don’t become defensive. “This conversation needs to be used as constructive feedback for you to gage whether or not you should start to entertain new opportunities elsewhere,” she said.
  3. Develop executive presence. Take a look at the people who are one or two levels ahead of you on the org chart. Dress and act like them. Wear business casual, not jeans, on Fridays. And be sure to participate in company’s charitable events and community activities – especially those that allow you to show some leadership skills. You may want to hire an executive coach or find a mentor to help in these areas, Thompson said.
  4. Learn to manage conflict effectively. Start by heading it off by recognizing your own “hot buttons” and figuring out how you may interact with people without getting angry. Avoid complaining and never post online some frustrated or annoyed comments. Professional courtesy helps and so does a sense of seeing the good in everyone, no matter how difficult or demanding they seem outwardly.
  5. Counteroffers work – sometimes. You can use that as a bargaining chip, but usually only once during your tenure with an employer. “Your employer will always remember that tactic,” she said. Others suggest extreme caution in using this to win a promotion or raise – it can backfire and it can generate ill too.
  6. Align yourself with others who are advancing. Offer to serve on an interdepartmental team led by a fast riser. Or bring lunch to someone who was just promoted, acknowledging how busy they are, she writes in her book.

Remember too, that the patterns of promotion vary from industry to industry and from company to company. LinkedIn says in management consulting, September is the biggest month for moving up and for IT workers, it’s April and July.

Even if you’re passed over for the next promotion you seek, you still have gained some perspective – and some visibility – by going after the bigger job.