How to Get a Promotion or Raise in Tech
Getting the job you want requires an up-to-date resume, well-honed experience, and sharp interview skills. A promotion, however, might take a different approach. When it comes time for a promotion, there are some more complicated elements to proving your capabilities to your employer. And since there isn’t an algorithm to decide who gets promoted and who doesn’t (Google already tried that) much of the decision falls on personality, work ethic, and strategy.
“Being able to display your skills, a passion for what you do, and solid people skills will help anyone whether a programmer, network admin, or analyst move up the chain. It is about getting the work done on time, under budget and with minimal complications,” states Kenyon Mau, Manager of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition & Management of SecureState
Certifications go a long way in moving your tech career along, as long as you invest your time into the right programs. Adding a certification to your resume helps you focus your career path and demonstrates your willingness to continue your education to your employer. Do your research before getting a certification to make sure it will benefit your desired career path.
Brent Fields, IT branch manager at Addison Group states, "Certifications also are a big plus. Many companies require a certification for a certain level of promotion – for example, a Cisco engineer might be required to have a CCNA before getting a promotion. It’s important to be aware of these requirements when pursing a promotion within your company."
Know Your Career Path
Part of getting the right certifications for your job relies on having a clear visual of your career path. You don’t need a five or ten year plan, but you should always keep an eye on what you do and don’t like to work on. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as well as your likes and dislikes will help you identify potential roles you want to go for within your company, which can help you focus on building the right skills and resume to get there.
Field says to keep it simple, “Know what area of IT you want to grow within. If a candidate is wanting advance their career in infrastructure, don’t spend time in other areas of IT unless it pertains to your skill sets.”
Sometimes, the easiest way to get a promotion, or a raise, is to change jobs. This is especially true if you feel as though you are stuck in a rut at your company and haven’t received any positive feedback on the possibility of growth within your career. Company loyalty is obviously important, but it isn’t the same reality it was 10 or 20 years ago when people got a job and then stayed there for decades. Job-hopping is slowly becoming a reality of the corporate world, especially for recent grads that have entered into a more uncertain workforce.
Bernard Morgan, General Manager of Computer Recruiter states “Stay with an employer until a promotion is offered, or job-hop. Instead of staying on one career ladder waiting for the next rung to become free, also known as waiting for ‘dead man’s shoes,’ change employers and step across to the next rung on their ladder, especially if they are offering training in new IT skills. After a while -- once you've picked up enough experience to move on -- do it again. In this way, you may be able to double your salary in just a couple of years.”
Job-hopping for a promotion or a raise is becoming so common that Fast Company reports it’s losing its stigma in the business world. You have to be careful to make sure your resume isn’t riddled with multiple six or eight month stints at companies. However, most potential employers won’t judge you for jumping jobs, rather than waiting it out for one or two years simply to make your resume look good.
Create Your Own Role
If your job doesn’t have great potential growth, oftentimes companies will be open to creating a new position in order to retain valuable talent. Try to think of a role that you think is missing in your department and propose the new roll to your boss. You will not only show initiative, you will also demonstrate your desire to remain with the company by finding your own career growth.
You’ve got great skills, sure. But so does everyone else you are working with. Michelle Burke, Marketing Supervisor for WyckWyre Food Industry HR Systems highlights the importance of personality in a promotion. “The best skill an IT employee can have to set themselves apart from others for a promotion being personable. IT is filled with candidates who have exceptional skills, but those can be trained. A great personality keeps customers engaged with your company and actually looking forward to speaking with the IT department. Anyone can work in IT, but not anyone can personable.”
Skills will get you the job, but personality will get you the promotion once you are in the door. Therefore, it’s important to consider your relationship with your coworkers or boss. The higher up the totem pole you get, the more likely you will be managing other employees and working closely with key decision makers in your company. Therefore, it is generally in the best interest of your boss to promote someone they wouldn’t mind working with.
The idea that hard work can get you a promotion is probably pretty obvious, but it’s worth stating. It’s not necessarily how hard you work but the quality of your work and what the company gets back from your efforts. If you work hard, but aren’t showing tangible results, your efforts might be ineffective.
Shayleen Stuto, Talent Coordinator for TechnologyAdvice states, “Promotions come when an individual is adding value, which can happen in many different ways. Contributing new ideas, solving realized or unrealized problems, mastering a skill, or helping others in their mastery are just some of the ways individuals can differentiate themselves and earn a promotion.”
Being an innovative and collaborative member of your team is crucial when it comes time for the boss to decide who is moving up. Ensure that all your hard work is getting results and that you are concentrating your efforts on projects that benefit your department and company.
Everyone is busy at work and that includes your boss. Leaving it up to your boss to recognize, remember, and consider your consistent efforts come promotion time might not be the best approach. No matter how modest you are it’s important that you brag a little. We aren’t talking borderline-narcissistic here – just self-advocacy. It can be easy to forget that we don’t always know what everyone else in our workplace is doing, and that goes for your boss. Make sure you keep a folder with accolades from coworkers or clients, documentation on a project that succeeded, and tangible results of your hard work that you can hand over when it comes time for your review. Your boss may know you’re a good employee, but it can’t hurt to remind them exactly why.
Brent Field, IT branch manager at Addison Group notes that going above and beyond to get involved and self-advocate, “Be the leader and set the pace for the team from the outset. Put in good feedback and recommendations with management, and be willing to stay late or do what’s needed to help the team. Ask for more involvement in projects or see if you can sit in on a managers meeting.”
Looking to change jobs to get your next "promotion?" Don't forget to check out openings on Monster to find technology jobs in your area.