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 Get Your Yourself Ready for Higher Position

By Joe Stein

Most of us, at some point in our careers, aspire for a higher-level position. This desire can be for a variety of reasons, such as greater status, more fulfillment, and (of course) higher compensation. The challenge is, however, how do you prepare and ready yourself for this promotional role, whether the opportunity is from inside your current organization or externally with another organization.
The strategy most employees take is the most direct and arguably logical route, but this may not actually prepare the person for the next role. What I am referring to is being really good in your current position, such as hitting “Exceeds Expectations” on your annual review. While this certainly can help (what company is going to promote someone poor in their current role without severe nepotism), it is most likely going to assist you more in your current position when it comes to merit increases, etc. This is especially true if your potential next level role requires a significantly different skill set, such as the leap into a full-fledged management position.
As we move forward, I am going to assume you have the strong in-role performance piece all set and, therefore, will focus on these more in-direct methods of preparation that I teased above. So, let’s now examine what you can do to ready yourself for a higher position:
• Connect With Those In Role: One of the best ways to position yourself for the promotional role is to know exactly what this job entails. If your current Manager is the person to connect with, then you can use time available during your “Touch Base” sessions. During this time you can inquire regarding daily work, project assignments, or even the personalities of the people who will be making key company or hiring decisions. If your current employer is open to it, you can even explore job shadowing in the promotional role so you can gain a better understanding of it. This would provide you with some knowledge transfer, along with making sure it is a good fit for what you are looking for. • Volunteer for Stretch Assignments: Sometimes, due to an extended absence or a vacancy, an employer will look to place someone in the role temporarily. If it is not a full-time stretch, it can even be a situation where a person continues to do their own role plus a portion of the promotional job. The idea is that this will allow you to transfer valuable knowledge about the upgraded position in order to improve your future candidacy. Another benefit is that when people see you doing all or some of the role in a stretch assignment, they start to condition themselves to seeing you in that type of positon. When this occurs, than the thought of you doing the job does not seem foreign to the Hiring Manager, and rather seems like a natural transition.
• Create Career Development Goals: When it is time to set goals, so often all of them are work related pertaining to the year in hand. If there is more than work-related goals, then there may be one or two set that are written on how to do your current role better. You should insist that you have your current employer’s commitment on at least one goal that is related to your career advancement.
• Build Advocates and Your Network: If you are committed to finding your promotional role internal to your current employer then you will need to build your networks and specific advocates for your career. Your network is your overall group of people you know within the organization, while your advocates are a small subset of these people who are in a position of influence and are willing to use that power on your behalf. These advocates do not have to be people in higher-up positions, as peers who advocate for you to receive a promotion can be very influential.
While some Job Seekers are in the labor market seeking a lateral move, many people desire a higher position, either within their current employer or with another. While your hard work and strong performance will assist you in landing your next role, there are a number of activities you can do to better differentiate yourself from the competition seeking to make a similar leap. Place yourself in the “driver’s seat” and get yourself ready for a higher position.
The following has been prepared for the general information of readers. It is not meant to provide advice with request to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader. Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional Feel free to e-mail any questions or comments.