Ready for Promotion?Monday, June 13th, 2011
Getting bored with your work? Feeling frustrated? Not using all your potential in your job? What you need is promotion! Well, perhaps you do, but if so you need to recognise that it usually does not just happen and certainly is unlikely to come on the basis of the length of your service, good timekeeping and loyalty. You would need to work at it yourself. But before you set out a plan, consider whether you really do want promotion. It may bring longer hours and greater pressure, and interfere with your family life, so ask yourself whether just a change of job is what you really need.
If promotion it is, then read on. But do not start by targeting a particular job because it looks attractive or gives you authority. Instead, begin by making a list of the things you like and dislike, and those you are good at and not so good at. Then if you see a particular promotion opportunity, match the requirements and the content of the job with these lists. If you are hopeless with figures, avoid jobs that require you to be making calculations throughout the day. Nevertheless look carefully at your weaknesses and consider whether you can do something about them. If you cannot understand accounts, take a course at your local college or buy a correspondence course. But if you are fundamentally shy and hate arguments, avoid jobs that require intense negotiations. Actually few of us are particularly good at understanding our own weaknesses, so have a word with someone at work, such as a personnel officer, who knows how you perform, and ask for an honest appraisal.
Before you set your sights on a particular type of work, check whether there are essential qualifications. You may be an excellent mechanical fitter, but nobody will set you on as an engineer, specifying load bearing structures for example, unless you are well qualified. If qualifications are needed, have you the capability for acquiring them? You may find a chat with someone at your local college useful. But qualifications are certainly not all important because, for most jobs of responsibility, experience counts heavily. Other employers may have difficulty assessing your experience, but your current employer knows you well, therefore consider whether you have useful experience and whether your employer appreciates that. If the answer to the latter question is “no”, then you have a bit of self-marketing to do. Pull out the list of your strengths and emphasise those you suspect your employer is not aware of. Also make a list of your achievements, both at work and in your private life. Having done that, type it all out on one side of a single piece of A4 paper. Unless you are a skilled typist, ask a secretary to lay this information out and type it for you because presentation is all important.
Arrange an interview with your boss or with a personnel officer – you will know who is the more appropriate. Explain that you are looking for more responsibility and talk them through your strengths and achievements before leaving them with your written summary. They are most unlikely to have a position waiting for you but your conversation backed up by the document will jog their thinking if something does arise. They may tell you that all jobs are advertised, in which case apply in the manner prescribed but attach your summary to the application. Or they may tell you that you are deficient in some way. If they do this, do not try to justify yourself unless they are wrong on fact. Listen to what they say and take careful note of what they say you are lacking because this is something you must rectify if you are to be taken seriously for promotion.
You may find that your present employer does not eventually come up with any promotion opportunity for you in which case you may have to consider applying for jobs with other organisations. But you certainly will not have wasted your time because the exercise in self-analysis followed by any identified necessary remedial action will have sharpened you up greatly and helped you bring out your best qualities. Good luck!