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How to Get a Promotion in 2020

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Getting a raise and getting a promotion

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get a job promotion? You’re not alone. According to a recent study by Zapier, 9 out of 10 people said they have career resolutions this year. Getting a raise and getting a promotion occupy the number one and number three spots on the list.

Unfortunately, approximately 80% of people who set resolutions don’t stick to them past February. How do the other 20% succeed? Forbes magazine suggests turning your resolutions into goals that have both intention and action. This means creating a specific goal with a set date to complete each action needed to achieve it. For example, “I want to be promoted to department manager by July.” The article suggests that the more specific you can be, the more likely you will have a successful outcome.

Now that you’ve changed your resolution into a goal, let’s look at what it’s going to take to achieve it—particularly if it involves a promotion. It’s no longer enough to just “do a good job.” In this new decade, employees need to start thinking outside of the box. A word of caution: You may think things like standing out from the team and showing how much you know are ways to get ahead at work, but they could backfire. Taking initiative, being productive, and lifting others up are the real attributes that get you noticed.

“The rules for getting a promotion have changed a lot in the last decade,” explains Mark Turpin, Founder and CEO of the HT Group. “Of course, you still have to do the work and do it well, but managers are taking a much more holistic look at their employees now versus just considering their outputs.”

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, prove your value to the company and show you’re ready and deserving to take on more responsibility. We’ve compiled seven things that your manager may look for when evaluating you for a job promotion.

Are you goal-oriented?

A good manager will have at least yearly meetings with you to discuss your career path and set goals. If they haven’t initiated this conversation, you should. When discussing your desired promotion, be prepared to show what you’ve achieved against these goals. You‘ll also want to demonstrate where you’ve gone above and beyond those goals.

Are you a team player?

We all know the adage that “there’s no I in TEAM.“ Employers want team players who are committed to more than their own performance. Avery Augustine, a contributor on, says that team players are “proving that they’re invested in the success of the department and company as a whole—and will do the same as they move up.”

How does your work impact the organization’s bottom line?

Be prepared to demonstrate how your work supports critical business initiatives and objectives. Not only do you need to show what you’ve achieved to date, but you’ll want to prove that you understand the organization’s future goals and how you can contribute to those as well.

Do you demonstrate leadership qualities?

You don’t have to have a C-level title to be a leader. You could be a department manager or lead a group of developers. Regardless of job title, a leader must possess certain skills to be successful at their job. You should have the ability to communicate effectively, understand positive motivation, delegate tasks, be a good listener (and even better problem solver), and be able to work with diverse genders and cultures.

Do you have a growth mindset?

Everyone has room for improvement. You should want to continuously learn new skills that will benefit your current and future positions. This thirst for knowledge demonstrates your desire to grow and that you are invested in a future with the company. Taking classes, reading trade pubs, listening to podcasts, and staying current on industry trends can be clues that you’re still growing for the better.

Are you going above and beyond?

In other words, are you doing only what’s expected or are you willing to go above and beyond the call of duty? This gives a manager a good insight into your work ethic. Try putting in a little extra time, doing a little extra work, or stepping in and helping out with a task or in a department that isn’t yours.

Are you growing your network?

You should be expanding your network to include different industries, functions, etc. This could consist of networking with other employees at your organization or attending a small workshop for a trade organization. Anna Davies of DailyWorth explains that “if the classic coffee meetup is your only definition of the concept, you may be missing out on opportunities.”

Answering these more behavior-oriented questions can be daunting for many employees who feel they need to have the “perfect” answer. Georgina Lozano at My Perfect Resume suggests that you “take the time to think about the answer you are going to give.” She also adds that “you need to practice telling your story to ensure you include the right details and properly organize your response.” To do this, she recommends using the STAR method when answering behavior-oriented questions. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Give a brief background of your example so the hiring manager better understands what is going on.
  • Task: Describe the task you were assigned rather than explaining the situation.
  • Action: Describe the steps you took to complete the task or remedy the situation.
  • Result: Finally, talk about the result that came from your actions.

The good news is that, geographically, Texas tops the list for the state with the most promotions. Its 13.6% promotion rate was significantly higher than that of New York, California and New Jersey. So, now that you’re armed with the how it’s time to make the ask.


Ready to move your career forward? Connect with The HT Group today!

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