A Year At My Job. How Can I Get a Promotion?

A question to the Workplace Doctors about how to get a promotion in spite of limited tenure.

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Question:

I’ve done an amazing job in my position in a short amount of time. I want a promotion. We’re a small department and I’m the most senior person with my title and, again, I’m excellent at what I do (constant praise by boss on my work and I’ve really moved the company forward).

Another employer (not in my field) just contacted me and offered me an interview for a position they are trying to fill. I am somewhat interested in the position. More importantly, I am thinking of going through the application process to get the job so that I can use the job offer to negotiate a promotion and raise at the CURRENT job so that I can stay there (without moving on to a new job).

I do think that if I tell my current job that I got a job offer, they’ll get freaked out—but my practical side also is aware that I’ve been in my position for only a year, so I’m not sure if my employer will think it’s too soon for a promotion and tell me good luck with the new job.

Even if I do not get the new job, how do I go about a getting a promotion at my current job?

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The best way to get a promotion at your current work is to talk to the Human Resources manager or the person who can make the promotion happen, about the job you want and ask what the process is for applying for it. Or, if there is no current promotional opening, be honest about your career development aspirations and ask what jobs are likely to be made available in-house and what you should do to ensure that you are considered for them.

Being appropriately honest and available in your current work would be far better than putting another company through the time and effort of considering your application and maybe even interviewing you and offering you a job, only to have you turn them down because you were merely using it as a ploy.

If you would take the job at the other place if it was offered, then apply for it. But, if you really wouldn’t leave where you are, don’t make it part of a strategy. You could use it by saying you have strongly considered applying for it because it would provide you with new career challenges and better pay.

Something else to consider is, do you want a promotion to a different level or kind of work or are you only seeking a raise? A promotion usually means being moved to a supervisory or managerial position or at least to a higher level of work in some way. The fact that you have done very well at your current job and tasks doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be considered ready to supervise others or manage a budget or are ready for another type of work within the business. Maybe so, but maybe not. It might be easier to seek a raise in pay than a promotion.

If you want to increase your responsibilities or move into a new area of the work, identify the higher level position that is vacant (unless you have an idea for a position that does not currently exist), then find out the requirements for the position and develop a resume or letter that will show how you fulfill the requirements and what you have to offer that others may not.

Talk to your boss and to the person who would be in charge of the promotional process within your company and let them know you would like to be considered for the job, based on your past work and your potential for helping the company in a new role.

An up-front approach is nearly always better than strategizing. Even if you are not promoted now, it will be known that you are seeking a change in roles or positions (a promotion) and you can be evaluated informally for it, until such a job comes open.

Best wishes to you with your efforts. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know how the situation works out.

Tina Lewis Rowe
Ask the Workplace Doctors