By Selena Dehne, JIST Publishing
When it comes to getting ahead in the world of work, some people make it look so easy. It’s almost as if they know of a secret fast track that’s helped propel them from one level to the next. They land jobs at the best companies, impress all the right people and seem to be promoted even before the ink on the job offer is dry.
On the other hand, the world of work is certainly filled with people who just can’t seem to climb the next rung of the corporate ladder. No matter how hard they try or how badly they want it, being promoted seems impossible.
Susan Britton Whitcomb identifies the characteristics and behaviors that differentiate these two types of people in her book, “30-Day Job Promotion.” “Having interviewed numerous managers and worked with hundreds of career-minded clients over the years, a clear pattern has emerged: Those with the greatest promotablility demonstrated a blend of hard skills and, more importantly, soft skills. For example, confidence, critical thinking and commitment,” Whitcomb says.
But what about people who can’t position themselves in the promotion pipeline? Why aren’t they moving forward, even though they’re perfectly qualified for a higher-level position? A significant part of the problem may be that, because of their attitudes and behaviors, decision-makers ruled them out of consideration for a promotion long before the option was available.
According to Whitcomb, there are several mistakes people can make that will hinder their chances of being promoted or earning the support of their superiors and colleagues. In “30-Day Job Promotion,” she outlines seven faux pas:
1. Not dressing, speaking or acting the part
When it comes to being promoted, looks do matter. If you don’t look the part, it will be much more difficult for decision-makers to envision you in it. Instead of dressing sloppily or inappropriately, strive to dress in a manner similar to people two levels above you.
2. Being unprepared with talking points about the value you’d bring to the position
Just because the decision-maker in the promotion process is already familiar with you doesn’t mean you’re done proving yourself to him or her. Highlight your skills, knowledge and strengths to reinforce your return on investment.
3. Being deceitful or underhanded
If you’re acting friendly and respectful to superiors one moment and undermining them behind their backs the next, you risk developing a reputation for being two-faced and untrustworthy.
4. Being clueless about the big picture
Decision-makers want to know that promoting you will impact the company’s bottom line. If you can’t convince them that your new ideas and extra effort will achieve the company’s goals, you probably won’t gain their buy-in for a promotion.
5. Pouting or grousing
It’s important for leaders to exude a positive attitude at all times — both good and bad. Decision-makers will never be able to support you as a leader, worthy of promotion, if you’re being bitter, negative or dismissive of others because you don’t get your way at work.
6. Expecting a promotion without going above and beyond in your current position
Some people mistakenly believe that because they do their job well and do what’s asked of them, they’re entitled to a promotion. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Employers want to advance employees who exceed their expectations and are willing to take on more than what their job description entails.
7. Overusing the terms “my career” or “promotion” in discussions with your manager
In most situations, your employer’s needs come before your own. Therefore, expressing that you’d like to take your career to the next level won’t get you nearly as far as something such as, “I’m committed to doing everything I can to help this company grow and succeed.”
“Remember, getting promoted is not for the faint of heart,” Whitcomb says. “To climb the ladder, you’ll need a proactive plan, proof of performance, the right perception of you, perseverance and a positive attitude.”
Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST’s Job Search and Career Blog (http://jistjobsearchandcareer.blogspot.com/).