Stepping up: laying the foundations for a promotion

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 18:14

By Hamish Williams

With salary increases at historic lows across many industries, many professionals are now looking at a promotion as the logical next step in increasing their earning potential. Easier said than done right? Like pay rises, there’s only so many management positions to go around and the higher you go up the organisational ladder, the harder they are to come by.

So how do you get the promotion you think you deserve? While self-belief and confidence are admirable qualities, unfortunately you’ll need to convince more than just yourself before you get that overdue tap on the shoulder. The good news is, with a good strategy and bit of elbow grease, you’ll soon find yourself on the top of the candidate pile.

Your experience is the first career component that will aid you in securing a promotion. Even though hard work is often heralded as the only true strategy for career success, it can be tempting to think there must be a short cut somewhere. The truth is, none of the other elements of your campaign for a promotion will work if you don’t start by doing your current job well. However, you can work smarter while working harder.

Have a think about your current role and highlight the elements that you think would make you more valuable in a higher role. Don’t focus solely on these elements at the expense of your other duties as your overall performance is still vitally important. Do take the time to understand which elements of your role have the potential to propel you to a larger role and ensure you perform these functions at a continuously high standard.

The next component required for securing a promotion is your professional network. While some of us profess to being better networkers than others, you don’t need to be charging around corporate functions dishing out business cards like you’re handing out gym leaflets. Start by thinking about the people in your current organisation. Do you know everyone’s name and what they do? While we’re all busy people, you’ll be surprised what you can learn about your organisation if you take the time to ask a couple of questions of your colleagues when you’re at the water cooler.

How well do you know the suppliers, agencies and other third party businesses that you meet with regularly? While an air of professionalism is required within these interactions, there’s never any harm in asking questions about their weekend or how their business is doing generally. You don’t need to shower people with compliments and grin like an idiot in order to ingratiate yourself with new contacts.

How often do you accept invites to corporate events? Once again, we all have a mountain of work to do but you should view these events as some of the crucial legwork required for building your professional network. Not every person you meet will end up being a valuable contact, in fact very few will. The important thing is that you ask people about what they do, you may learn some valuable information that will serve you well in the future. You’ll also have the opportunity to practice your professional sales pitch. What do you do? Does it sound impressive? Try again. Eventually you’ll be able to present yourself to new people in a clear and professional way that leaves a lasting impression.

The third and perhaps most vital component of your career for securing a promotion is further study. While it may not be part of the fast track to a promotion you envisioned, investing time and money into further education is the most effective method for securing a promotion for a number of reasons, the most obvious being it will differentiate you from other candidates.

While your extensive work history and experience will impress many potential or current employers, the reality is that many other candidates will have equal or better levels of experience. Undertaking and completing further qualifications through postgraduate study is the ultimate way to demonstrate to future employers that, despite your extensive experience, you’re still looking for ways to build on your knowledge and skills. A commitment to lifelong learning is now considered a prerequisite for high-performing professionals and HR teams will be looking for proof of this when reviewing applications for senior leadership roles.

Postgraduate study is also the best way to augment and leverage your hard earned experience and knowledge in a meaningful way. While you may have many years’ experience in a particular industry or profession, learning to use that knowledge in a practical way can be easier said than done. Postgraduate business education will provide you with the tools and skillsets for unlocking the lessons you’ve learned on the job and will enable you to put your knowledge to work in making high level strategic decisions that will drive an organisation forward.

At AIM, we believe postgraduate education is the most effective way to fast track your way to a promotion. We know postgraduate study is not a decision to be taken lightly. With such a significant investment of time and money, you need to be sure you’ll see a return on your investment.

As the old saying goes, an investment in education truly pays the best interest so invest in yours today.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, visit or call us on 1300 658 337 to discuss your options.