Working Hard Won't Always Get You Promoted — But Doing These 3 Things Will

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Corrie Alexander19
May 21, 2024 at 9:35AM UTC
You don’t just do your job well, you’re the model employee. You’re reliable, you get things done efficiently, and you’ve built a good rapport with your boss. You’re confident that you are ready to take on the next step in your career. So why is it, then, that you continue to get passed over every time there’s an opening for advancement? Here's the reality: Working hard and being good (or even great) at what you do isn’t enough to get you promoted. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels at the company you work for without making any progress, it’s time to change what you’re doing. There are three things you can do to help you get noticed by management:

1. Help your coworkers.

If you hope to get promoted, you need to demonstrate to your superiors that you are not only capable of leadership but genuinely caring about the success of your team members. For example, if one day you are caught up on your work, check in with your coworkers to see if any of them need a helping hand. An employee who is eager to help out where needed will quickly get the attention of management. 
More importantly, this helps you build a stronger rapport with your coworkers. Because when it’s time to promote within, management will also consider who they can see the rest of the employees rallying behind. 

2. Go above and beyond.

Be eager (not just willing) to take on work that's outside of your job description. Continually doing what’s in your job description is a silent way of communicating “that’s not my job” to your manager when situations arise that you could help out with but don’t. 

Taking the initiative to cross-train in another department is another excellent strategy as it will not only make you a more invaluable employee, and it will also show your commitment to the company brand and vision.  

Going above and beyond doesn’t have to stay within the confines of operations. You can also make contributions to the office culture. Coordinate a charity drive, or join the company’s health and safety committee. Integrating yourself with the social fabric of your office is another way to show your superiors that you care about the company brand and other employees.

3. Get your boss in your corner.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to keep your boss in the dark about your aspirations. It could be that she assumes you’re happy in your current role and aren’t looking for any extra responsibilities. Be transparent with your boss about your goals so that you become top of mind for her when an opportunity for promotion arises.

It’s also important to ask your boss for feedback on what you need to do to achieve your goals within the company. If they don’t feel you are ready for a promotion, ask them which specific skills need to be developed in order to considered for one. Constructive criticism can be difficult to hear, but this type of honest feedback can make or break your career trajectory.

A good manager will always be eager to help his employees grow and by being open about what you hope to achieve, you’re getting them to work with you. Many companies are even willing to invest in their employees by offering compensation for completing a relevant course or workshop.

Working hard isn't enough.

To get on your manager's radar for promotion, competence alone isn't enough. You must demonstrate your commitment to the company's vision by thinking—and acting—outside of your job description. In other words, be the employee you want to become before you have the title.


Corrie Alexander is a content creator and customer service manager from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. Visit her website,

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