Feeling stuck? This 10-step to-do list will get your career moving again.
By Dana Manciagli
An increasing trend in corporate America today is the feeling of being “stuck” in your current job, with little to slow opportunity for promotion. More executives are staying put because of economic conditions, fear of the unknown and valuing what they have even though they may be bored. Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults say that they have held the same job for at least five years. That’s up from 46 percent in 1996. (Statistics per The Wall Street Journal, June 2013.)
Don’t be one of the “stuck” ones. Cut the crap. Get promoted. Here’s 10 ways how:
- Plan for a promotion. Map out your approach: what, when, how. Write down your realistic target timeline for promotion, how you will lead up to that date, what materials you will prepare and with whom you will engage. Remember that nobody is planning your promotion for you. Own it.
- Do your research. Use an intranet human resources (HR) website, guidelines and metrics. There is an amazing amount of material available on your company’s intranet site or through your HR information. Most employees don’t read it. Don’t be one of those individuals. You will need to cite company information in order to get promoted.
- Find three people to seek insights. Share your thinking, and get feedback. Select three very influential and insightful people who will be direct yet helpful. Share you written plan from No. 1 above, asking for their perspective.
- Host a preliminary talk with your manager. What does he or she look for in promotion-worthy staffers? Prepare a solid agenda for a meeting dedicated to this topic and not blended with work “stuff.” Listen more than you talk. This is just for investigative purposes. Do not ask for the promotion… yet.
- Secure the (online) promotion form your manager needs to complete. In most companies, there is a form that a manager needs to fill out to justify your promotion. Get your hands on a blank form, study the questions and do more research (see No. 2) to prepare to complete it.
- Fill out the form for your manager. Do not e-mail it to your manager. Quantify as much as possible. If your company is looking for examples of scope growth, be sure to quantify if your responsibility is larger in revenue, size of team and/or impact on the bottom line. Do not just say generally what a great employee you are.
- Book a dedicated one-on-one meeting with your manager to discuss your career. Be sure that this topic is known in advance, prepare the agenda and send it to your manager beforehand. Design it so that you are focused on your next career move vs. five years out. Script your “pitch” as to why you believe you are ready for a promotion based on concrete rationale.
- Run an amazing meeting, with an agenda, the form and next steps. Bring in a printed agenda to put on the table, a printed copy of the form (or a document you created to emulate the form) and specific questions you have one you have made the “pitch.” Take notes throughout.
- Follow up the conversation with a thank you note, replaying what you heard. Regardless of the outcome, follow up with a huge dose of appreciation and replaying what you heard.
- Be persistent in your follow-up by scheduling actions in your calendar. Your manager may say, “I need to research and I’ll get back to you.” However, you can put the next meeting in his or her calendar for 20 to 30 working days later, depending on their indication. You may need to call three or four meetings before the manager can provide specific insight or that promotion potential.
The old days are passed, when you used to be awarded a promotion as a surprise. It takes work, deep insights, proactive communications with your manager, great networking around your immediate supervisor and much more. Promotions are rarer, and you need to be that much better to advance professionally.
Dana Manciagli has recruited, hired and coached thousands during her 30-plus years as a sales and marketing executive in large corporations and with a startup. She is now a global career expert and author of “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” Learn more at www.danamanciagli.com.