How to Get Promoted at Work In 3 Steps, According to a Career Coach

Leadership guru Liz Bentley on what you need to do to get ahead.

Every month, career coach Liz Bentley will be answering your candid questions about work, so you never have to stress about the office.


I want to take on more in my current role so I can ask for a promotion. Should I ask my manager what I can do to get more responsibility? Or suggest ways I can do more? What’s the best way to grow my position?

Getting ahead in your career is a great objective and crafting your strategy to advance is very important. There are steps you can take right now to start growing your position–but be sure to do them in the right progression and in the right way to maximize your future case for a promotion.

1. Do Your Own Research

For starters, assume everyone on your team, especially if you work in a competitive environment, wants to advance as well and may be asking your boss how to do it. To avoid overwhelming your manager but still stand out, it’s helpful to map out an understanding of what the next level of your profession looks like. If you are in a company where career advancement has obvious steps, then focus on the skills–both technical and interpersonal–that the company looks for when promoting people. If advancement at your company is more undefined, figuring out the way through can be tricky and require more groundwork. Either way, before you meet with your manager, do a quick company inventory yourself and review these three things:

  1. What are the leaders like and what commonalities do they possess?
  2. What is the company culture and what types of behaviors does it reward and shun?
  3. How often do people get promoted and what are they like in terms of skills, attitude, and talent?

    Too often employees go to their boss for advice, which burdens the boss with their issues, rather than doing the work themselves to figure it out. While the boss’ feedback is important and helpful, don’t lose the art of crafting your own observations and assessments. This is a skill you will need your entire career, and as you advance, it will become even more important.

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    Stocksy

    2. Get Your Manager’s Advice on How to Help Your Team–Not Just Your Career

    Once you have formed your own views, then it’s time to check your version of the facts with your manager and have them fill in the pieces you are missing. From here you can personalize it to yourself and your career to better understand how to get ahead.

    You should let your manager know you are excited for more opportunities and want to advance, but target the conversation more around helping the company, the team and the manager. Emphasize that while you want to advance your career, more importantly you want to advance the team and believe you can positively help in that progression. Lay out how that would work for your manager, keeping the big picture in mind for everyone and drilling it down to actual responsibilities and tasks.

    While most companies want to provide an environment to grow their people, they mostly want to grow themselves. And they want employees who are dedicated to their brand. Everyone wants personal advancement–promotions, more money, and more responsibility. The best way to get there is to figure out what the company needs and how you can contribute to its future.

    3. Remember the Golden Rules

    Once you have built your roadmap, it’s time to push yourself to new heights. Let these rules be your guide:

    • Have a great attitude: That means no gossip; be a positive contributor.
    • Work hard: Work above and beyond your responsibilities. Put in the extra time and get the work done quickly and thoroughly.
    • Speak up: Don’t be afraid to share your opinion in a meaningful way. Keep a good attitude and contribute your thinking to the team.
    • Be prepared: Come to work ready to hit the ground running. Stay organized and on top of all your work so that no one has to hold you accountable.

      As you pursue your goals, know that there will be times you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to take on more responsibilities, learn new skills and have more on the line. Keep your goals ever present in your mind so you can work through these challenges and continue to rise.


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