MOST professionals who are serious about their career have a long-term plan for progression in place. In today’s employment market, however, with flatter company structures, globalisation and constantly evolving technology, getting a promotion is not always inevitable.

With some strategic planning, you can improve your chances of separating yourself from the crowd and securing that elusive promotion.


Be the best you can be

Working hard and putting in that extra effort in your current role will reap rewards in the future. Take on extra responsibilities outside your job description, go that extra mile to ensure your clients are happy, and arrive early at your desk each morning.

Be the first to volunteer when your manager asks for additional input on a project. To attain a promotion, it’s essential to get yourself noticed.


Fill the gaps

Carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on your own skills. Where are the gaps in your experience and knowledge that could prevent you from getting that promotion? Where can you bring value to your employer?


Ask for more

Don’t be afraid to declare your ambition. Take on additional responsibilities that will help you when it comes to applying for your next role.

If you can’t take these on within your current position, consider volunteering to help out in another department. At the very least, you’ll broaden your knowledge base and raise your profile in the company.


Find a mentor

Aligning yourself with a senior member of your department or company will improve your chances of securing a promotion in the future. Well-connected advisers can open career doors for you by providing connections in other areas.

If your company doesn’t provide mentoring schemes for key employees, one of the easiest ways to find a mentor is to reach out to the people you admire in your organisation. Ask them for advice on how they got to where they are and what they would recommend to an aspiring protégé (that’s you!). It will pique interest and demonstrate initiative.



You’ve heard the adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Without a doubt, skills and knowledge are paramount, but don’t discount the leverage of your network.

Raise your profile internally and externally by demonstrating your strengths and offering to help out in other departments.


6 Create your own niche

If you are serious about achieving your promotion but can’t see an opening in the foreseeable future, take the initiative. Research the challenges and opportunities faced by your employer and try to identify an area that needs improving where your skills match the requirements of that area.

It may not result in a new position but it will raise your profile for the next vacancy that arises.


Know your own value

Maintain your own record of achievements, listing everything you do that adds value to your department or company. When it comes to your next performance review, you’ll have a list of tangible results to present to your manager. It will also prove invaluable when aiming for promotion.


Be sensitive to office politics

Learning the subtle nuances that affect the dynamics of working relationships is essential to smooth the path for your next move. The higher up the career ladder you climb, the more important it is to be aware of these dynamics. Become a team player and encourage your co-workers. If you are pursuing a management role, it is essential.


Embrace change

All companies favour employees who welcome change rather than shrink back from it. Your job description may change, the structure of your department may alter radically — don’t be the one to resist and complain about it. Adapt to the changes, turn the challenges into opportunities and remain positive.


10 If at first you don’t succeed

Be prepared for your first attempt at promotion to be met with rejection. If that happens, request feedback on what skills or experience you may lack to ensure you are better prepared next time.

Your manager may require more consistent achievement of sales targets or a longer period spent in your current post before considering you for promotion.

Listen to the advice, respond to the challenge, keep and stay with your career plan.

Ultimately, if promotion continues to prove elusive, you will have a track record of achievements, initiative and consistency that will prove attractive to many employers.

Article by Kate Smedley, an associate writer with Sandbox Advisors, a firm which helps people with careers, job search and training in Singapore.

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