4 Secrets to Getting a Promotion

Get Your Dream Position with These Quick Tips

Getting a promotion isn’t easy. There are only so many upper level positions, and competition is fierce. It’s important to be ready when those openings arise.

How? By being prepared. Earning the right to ask for a promotion isn’t a question of tenure or age—it’s a byproduct of knowing not only the inner workings of your own job, but also those of the company you work for and the position you want.

Here are four secrets to getting a promotion.

Know What You Want

Management isn’t for everyone. Before you ask for a promotion, ask yourself if being a leader is what you want. Do you desire the position for the title and accolades or because you truly want to manage and inspire others? If it’s just for financial reasons, consider asking for a raise instead. You may also want to consider applying for a position in another department, depending on your interests.

Management isn’t easy. Leadership can seem fun, but there are numerous responsibilities that come with such status, including handling billing and budgets, managing deadlines, and dealing with unhappy or sick employees. And that’s only a partial list!

Speak with Leadership

Once you’ve been at the company for some time and have earned your stripes with proven performance and knowledge of the company, talk to your manager. Let them know you’re out to achieve a promotion if the opportunity arises. Come with proven examples of your ability to rally, push, and inspire others, as well as metrics regarding your own performance.

Find a mentor at your company who can push you to succeed and speak candidly about areas in which you need improvement. Not every leadership experience is going to be a great one. A mentor can help you realize what went wrong and what you can do in the future to minimize those problems. Leaders don’t want novices in management roles; they promote those with demonstrated performance.

Be Prepared

A management position could open at any time. Therefore, preparation is key. A promotion isn’t something you get because you’ve been working at the company a certain amount of time. You only get the job if you’re the right fit at the right time.

Watch those who hold positions that may be attainable in the not so distant future. Unless your department expands, these are most likely your only options. Although you don’t want to be a direct copy of the individual currently in the position, make sure you exemplify the qualities of the role. Do your research! If they started working 15 years ago, you’ll need to know everything they learned in those 15 years.

Seek out team leader roles in projects and take initiative to show you can lead a team. This also gives you time to discover your own leadership style, and how to handle appropriate conversations with others in your team.


At the end of the day, you have to make your case. That means waiting for an opening or proving there is currently a need for a new management position. If you aren’t up to creating your own role (with detailed metrics regarding why that role needs to exist), you must wait.

If the leadership role is open to everyone, you’ll be able to apply. If it’s only open to a select few, you’ll have to hope your prior discussion with leadership will cause them to notice you as a great candidate.

Have you ever gotten a promotion? How did you achieve it? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Victor Onyegbulam

    This is a very interesting article that every employee or management personal needs to read. I started working for a hardware and home improvement company a few year back as a seasonal employee. When the opportunity came to get hired on a permanent basis, I applied and having demonstrates my skills and performance as a reliable, hard working individual, I hoped for the best. I was offered a position outside my region and I took it. In short, I was into the office, this time not an interview, but for a recognition of my work ethics. I was asked to take a full time position because I continue to demonstrate the fundamental aspects of a steward, attending to and helping customers love where they live, and demonstrating the companies core values and slogan with my actions.

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  2. Sharon Yaco

    I work for a municipal government and the only way to a promotion is to apply for open positions. The City council sets the positions for the most part. However, this past summer I asked my supervisor how I could move to the next level. He worked hard and persisted through the many levels of hierarchy needed and eventually, came to me with the good news that I was moved to the next pay grade/title change. It came with a small raise but opens more doors for the future. My coworkers told me I would never get to move to that position because the limit for our department was reached.

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      Movin' On Up Staff

      Congratulations Sharon! That’s one of the key things to keep in mind when looking to move up the career ladder – closing your ears to office gossip and focusing on your own performance and abilities. Thanks for the comment!

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