The start of the year, even if you’re not the resolutions type, can feel like an opportunity to let go of the past nonsense that’s been holding you back (in life, in love, in joy) and move forward on a happier path. But while setting goals to become a morning person, finally take the plunge and sign up for a paid dating app (in search of better quality matches) or be smarter about your healthy lifestyle are all noble causes, there might be a more obvious (and ahem, attainable) one that you should start working on by now. And guess what? You don’t have to wait until next January 1 to reap the rewards. While the New Year begins at the drop of a ball, the start of the fiscal year isn’t until April (hence that tax day thing you mark on your calendar). The best opportunity you have to get a raise and promotion at work is during the month of March when review season rolls around and putting your best face, work and drive forward now is the ticket to more dollars on the pay stub.
“If you don't enjoy your current positive or your current company, it's arguably more crucial to gun for a promotion," Kali Rogers, entrepreneur and life coach tells Bustle. "Not only do promotions stand out on resumes as a huge positive for interviewers, but they also come with title bumps and pay raises to help incentivize other companies to match your current status. The easiest way to get a raise is to get a new job, so you might as well have your starting point be higher than before. If you do enjoy your current company or current position, it's better for you to keep it that way. Going out for promotions will keep you challenged, inspired, and indispensable at your current company. Becoming stagnant or bored with your job is mostly due to a lack of challenge, so it's best to try for promotions even before you are ready as a preventative solution.”
So how do you set yourself up for success? Try these steps:
1. Show You’re A Team Player
When you’re gunning for more responsibility and to be respected by both your superiors and your peers, it’s important to show that you’d dedicated to the company, it’s purpose and goals, and the people who make the magic happen. That’s why volunteering to make the workplace better, joining work-related extracurricular groups and yes, logging some longer hours, can help prove your case.
“Companies want to promote people who are invested in their vision," Rogers says. "Joining groups, such as special interest (female empowerment, LGTBQ), recruitment, special events, or charitable groups displays that you are heavily committed to the organization and provides an extra demonstration of your leadership skills and willingness to be a team player."
2. Attend Networking Functions
Some of the best ways to get inspired is to meet people who do exactly what you do, but somewhere else. You can help brainstorm, share the grievances that come with the job description and work together toward goals. By attending events in your industry, you show your employer how much you love your work and also the desire to do it better.
“Knowing the big players in your specific elevate your expertise to an even more desirable level," Rogers says. "This world is run on relationships and knowing people who can help your position or your company will always be a compelling reason to keep you happy as an employee. Plus, it makes you an easy target for competing job offers, and a little competition can do wonders for your promotion chances.”
3. Advocate For Yourself
If you’re putting in the time and the effort, it’s essential to make sure your boss knows what you’re doing. You might think they see the day-in-and-day-out dedication, but they’re not only managing people but their own workload too. That’s why relationship expert and author Dr. Jane Greer tells Bustle that being your own personal advocate in your 1:1’s is important. “Go to your supervisor and let them know all the work you're doing — don't assume they know everything you're handling. You can do this by scheduling a meeting to review what you've done so far and the new projects you'll be tackling. Let [them] know you're happy to initiate additional projects if they're available. This demonstrates a ‘go-getter’ attitude and a willingness to jump into even more work for the company,” she says.
4. Build A Relationship With Your Boss
Though it’s important not to cross any super-personal boundaries, developing a healthy, easy rapport with your boss will make it more likely that they feel comfortable promoting you and thus, trusting you. The way to get meetings with your manager? Ask them! “You should be asking your superiors for their time. Make sure coffee, lunch, or drink dates are routine outings for the two of you. Ask them for specific advice on how to continue building your career. If the people who determine whether or not you get promoted are invested in your success, your chances of getting promoted go through the roof,” Rogers says.
5. Do More Than You’re Asked
“Come to work early, and finish projects ahead of deadlines. Always ask for more, more, more to do! Show them you're motivated and happy to help. You can also schedule informal meetings with your colleagues about how they see you managing what they're looking for from you. This shows them you have availability and accessibility to the team,” Dr. Greer tells Bustle.
Going above and beyond is an easy way to truly prove that not only can you handle more work and projects, but that you’re already doing it, without the title or pay.
6. Make Your Intentions Known
Seems too simple, right? It’s not, according to Greer. One surefire way to get what you desire is to make sure you’re on the path to getting there. And that requires an open conversations about your future goals with your boss. “Don't think they'll just give it to you out of nowhere," she says. "Make your desire and intention for the promotion known to the supervisors. Make it clear you'd like to advance and are ready to handle it. Find out what the particulars would entail so you can spell out what he or she would need to see from you to make this happen."
Inspired to ask for a promotion? Now go get it!
Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle; Giphy