Maybe you’ve had the same title for a while, and you’re ready for something bigger; maybe your responsibilities have evolved, and you want your title to match what you’re doing every day. Whatever the reason, angling for a promotion is a tricky business. Being prepared can help you allay your anxiety about asking for what you’re worth, and make it more likely for you to ascend to that next rung on the corporate ladder.
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1. Do research.
First and foremost, you need to understand what your job title means. PayScale’s Research Center will tell you roughly what each job title entails — and what kind of salary goes along with it.
2. Do your job, right now.
“One of the key factors in getting a promotion is to be a stellar employee who is highly respected at the company,” writes Alison Doyle at About.com’s job searching site.
That means being on time, working well with others, and doing your present job to the best of your abilities, every day.
3. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
This is especially important for younger people who are not long out of college. Dressing professionally will send the signal that you’re mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come along with a promotion. That doesn’t mean wearing a suit, if people dress more casually at your company. It just means wearing clean, unwrinkled clothes that won’t be mistaken for weekend-wear.
4. Toot your own horn.
Many of us were raised with the idea that modesty is important, and although you don’t want to drive your co-workers crazy with a constant stream of self-praise, you need to make sure that your boss knows what you’re doing.
Keeping track of your accomplishments and presenting them during a performance review is a good first step. In general, you also should keep lines of communication open with your manager, so that he or she is aware of what your job entails. You’d be surprised at how many bosses don’t know exactly what their staff is up to.
5. Understand what’s important to your company.
Promotions are not based on merit alone. Pay attention to the qualities that the folks with your dream job title have. Do they all have a specific graduate degree, skill set, or even hobby? Once you know what your managers value, you’ll be in a much better spot — either to get a promotion at your current company, or to look for a new employer that values you.
Want to get your career on track in 2014? Sign up for PayScale’s Make It Happen email course. It offers the tools you need to get a raise, get a promotion, get hired, and get better at your job.
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