5 Things You Can Be Doing Right Now For Your Next Promotion

“You deserve a raise.” “You deserve a promotion.” Hearing your boss say those magic words is different from repeating the phrase to yourself as you drive to work. Fortunately, there are steps you can take right now to increase your chances.

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Watch the Clock

Watch the clock? Yes, watch the clock but not so you can bolt at 5. We’re talking about the beginning of the day. While no one may applaud you for being on time or early to work, most bosses will note if you’re late. At home, watch the clock to make sure you leave for work in plenty of time. Some optimists assume they’ll always be able to get to work in the same number of minutes they did on that one magic day in 2014 when all the stoplights turned green as they approached, there were no wrecks, and no lanes were closed for construction. Every day, they rush into the office late and out of breath, complaining about bad stoplights, accidents, and construction. If you want a raise, don’t be that person. Chronic lateness can reverse all the other good things you’ll do to deserve a raise.

What to do: Be five minutes early.

Do Your Job

No matter how mundane and trivial your job feels, don’t be so anxious wear your boss’s shoes that you neglect your own tasks. One employee was so eager to begin planning a long-term project his supervisor usually handled that he missed a critical daily deadline of his own. Focus on your own work first. Meet your deadlines or finish your projects early. One worker finished his tasks two days before his boss’s deadline. His boss noticed and gave him a lead role in an upcoming project.

What to do: Exceed expectations for your own tasks before looking around for higher-level work.

Network and Socialize

You thought the guy laughing at the water cooler was wasting time? Think again. One high-level government employee always knows when it’s someone’s birthday. Funeral? He’s there. Wedding? He attends. He can be counted on to remember favorite movies, preferred restaurants, and whether you like your food Indian hot or American mild. He’s genuinely friendly, and he doesn’t gossip either. He’s always making new connections and new work buddies but never at the expense of his own job or goals. This worker scored a coveted GS15 several years before some of his similarly performing coworkers who started earlier than he did.

What to do: Get out of your cubicle. Be friendly. Network. Take time to go to social events.

Volunteer to Lead a Project

When your boss asks for a volunteer to head up a new sales initiative, train a new worker, or help start a new team-building effort, step up even if you’re already busy. If your boss hasn’t asked for volunteers, identify the type of projects you’d like to do to boost how promotable you are, and let your boss know. Be specific. Don’t just say you want to help with marketing. Tell your boss you want to identify potential clients, write new promotional material, or develop a YouTube video featuring your company.  You’ll make connections beyond your immediate coworkers and polish your leadership skills.

What to do: Choose such a project carefully. Some volunteer projects take up your time without helping you advance. When you agree to do a task like this, do it well.

Final Step: Document Your Success

Likely, you’re already doing many of the right things. But if you don’t document your successes, your boss may never know. Make notes on what you do, whether it’s increasing sales, boosting client engagement or helping a fellow worker master a tough assignment. If you worked all weekend to meet a tight deadline, let your boss know, but not in a complaining way. If you get an emailed compliment from a customer, pass it on to your boss.

What to do: Keep notes on your successes to have handy for your performance review or for the day you take a deep breath and ask for a raise. Also let your boss know of your successes as they occur.

When you exceed expectations and document your achievements, you will be the first person the company turns to when your boss gets promoted and they need a good leader to fill the spot. Spend part of your first raise on champagne for you and the boss.

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