3 Things You Must Do to Get Your First Promotion

You're going to have to earn it.

3 Things You Must Do to Get Your First Promotion

3 Things You Must Do to Get Your First Promotion

by Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer

Once you’ve landed your first job, your thoughts may quickly turn to moving up in the organization. But that fabulous promotion isn’t just going to fall into your lap -- there are things you have to do to along the way.

Here are three of them:

1. Earn it.

If you’re at a company where you think you have a future, it’s up to you to build it. Fortunately, many of the steps you’ve already taken to get the job can help you get that first promotion. They include things such as learning as much about your department and company as you can, staying up-to-date on what’s going on in your industry, dressing the part and doing jobs others don’t want to, says author and speaker Barry Maher.

It’s also important to be ready to make a case for yourself, Maher says. “Be ready to articulate the business case for giving you the job. How are you going to make the company more profitable, save money, increase efficiency or productivity? You may deserve a promotion, but what is promoting you going to do for the company?”

Finally, work hard so you can put together a list of accomplishments. “Not so much to show why you've earned a promotion or why you deserve it, but to showcase the abilities you'll be bringing to the new position,” Maher says. “If you can assign a dollar value, showing how much the accomplishments on that list have earned or saved the company, so much the better.”

2. Pick out a promoter.

An important part of getting your first promotion is identifying the person who can give it to you -- because it might not be your boss. As you work to find ways to stand out with your accomplishments, figure out who your audience should be, says Stacy S. Kim, founder of Life Junctions.

“For a promotion, you need to find someone in the ‘power alley’ or in the position to promote you,” Kim says. “You then need to cultivate a relationship with that person. Learn about him or her so that you can then craft a story that convinces them it's in their best interest to sponsor you, and how you will help them and the company succeed.”

Playing a key part in that person’s success puts you in a good position to get that first promotion.

3. Be seen.

Once you’ve figured out who can get you where you want to go, you need to make sure they see you. “Those who decide who gets promoted need to know who you are and that you want to move forward,” says Kendra Davies, co-owner of Stellar Life Coaching. “Participate in company training and skills workshops, take an interest in company initiatives, and show up everywhere.”

While this means participating in company community service efforts, for example, it also means stepping up your everyday work. “When the decision-makers are reviewing who would be the best fit, let them recall not only your excellent performance, but also your awesome questions at the last team meeting,” Davies says. “Let your demonstrated value work for you.”