For many employees in a corporate environment, there's nothing more satisfying than getting a promotion. Nothing says "climbing the corporate ladder" like that new title and raise, proof of a job well done. If you’re newer in the workforce or you’ve just joined a new company, you might be wondering, “How do I know if I'll get promoted?”
9 Signs you might be getting a promotion.
1. Your workload is increasing.
Your boss might be giving you more work or additional responsibilities to see how you handle it. If you’re successful at handling the additional workload, a promotion might be in your future. If you’re feeling burned out or resentful of the extra work, make sure you understand your boss’ expectations and plans for you.
2. You’re asked to work on more high-profile projects.
This may be an opportunity for additional leaders in your company to get to know you and see how you work. Make sure you dress professionally in meetings and carry yourself like a leader. You want everyone to think you already have the role — and then question why you haven’t been promoted yet.
3. Your department is growing.
If your department is growing, there may be opportunities for you to step up. You know the company and the job already, after all. Make sure you keep your eye out for job postings so you know what your boss (or hers) is looking for in a more senior role.
4. You’ve been asked to mentor a new or junior employee.
If you’re an individual contributor looking to step into a management role, this might be a good sign. Take these opportunities seriously since you never know who you’ll impress.
5. You’ve consistently gotten "exceeds expectations" in every area of your performance review.
If you’ve consistently exceeded every expectation your boss has for you, it might be time to take it to the next level. Chances are your boss and company leadership are starting to take note.
6. A job one level above yours was posted internally.
Keep an eye on job postings, not just in your department but in similar roles in the company. If something a level above your current job opens up, it might be the perfect time to go for it.
7. Your boss is leaving.
If your boss is leaving, it may open some opportunities for you to move up. If you know your boss’s job as well as you know your own, make sure the higher-ups know — and you might be next in line for the role!
8. Your boss’s boss is leaving.
If the big boss is leaving, it could create big opportunities for you. If you and your boss have a good relationship, you may want to start a conversation about promotion as soon as you hear the news.
9. Your job exceeds the job description you were hired to do.
If you started as a communications manager but have taken on all of the project management for your department, a promotion may be in the cards. If you think your company leadership isn’t clear about what you were hired to do versus what you actually do, you might need to do some educating. Grab other job descriptions and available salary information to help you make your case.
What if it’s time for a promotion, but there’s no sign it is coming?
This is not the time to sit back and do nothing! If you’re sure it's time for a promotion, but you aren’t seeing any of the signs you’ll be promoted soon, here are some things you can do when you’re asking yourself “How can you be promoted at work?”
1. Make sure you’re really ready.
Just because you’ve been in your role for a while doesn’t mean you’re ready for a promotion. You need to ask yourself if your work is worthy of moving you to the next level. You also want to make sure you can handle the additional workload and new responsibilities. If you’ve never had direct reports and your next-level role comes with three, carefully consider what you need to do to prepare.
2. Ask your peers or a mentor for advice.
If you’re feeling frustrated that there is no promotion in sight, seek out some peers or a mentor. They may see things that you don’t or offer up insights into your performance that will help you get to the next level.
3. Prepare for your ask.
You don’t just want to blurt out your ask. Make sure you understand and have met all of the criteria you need for your promotion. If you have, come armed and ready with all of the information you’ve collected and think about practicing your pitch before you go in.
4. Meet with your boss or HR.
If you don’t want to go directly for the ask, you could still schedule a meeting with your boss or HR manager to discuss a promotion or what you need to do in order to get there.
5. Create a development plan.
While your company may offer opportunities for professional development, you need to own your career. If you’re ready for a promotion and not seeing the signs that it's coming soon, start building your own plan to get there. You can ask your boss and other managers for input, but this is about you. Your plan can include books, conferences or other training. If your budget is limited, try online courses through Skillshare or Udemy.
6. Look for other opportunities
If you’re not getting a promotion and you’re not getting the feedback you need to earn one, it might be time to start looking outside of your current company. If you’ve been in your role for a few years and are ready for a new challenge, consider looking at other companies.
Whether you see the signs of a promotion or not, you should always be thinking about how your role supports your professional goals and desire for advancement. If you want a promotion, make sure your boss and other key leaders in your organization know your aspirations and are helping to support them.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Marissa Taffer is the president and founder of M Taffer Consulting. She spends her time helping busy leaders grow and scale their offerings through business development, project management, and content creation.