Setting Yourself Up for a Promotion in 2020


Not only is it a new year, it’s a new decade. If that doesn’t inspire you to set and work towards big goals, I don’t know what will. So, if one of your goals is to go for that big promotion this year, there are a few things you can do now to get the proverbial ball rolling. Then this time next year you can look back and say, “Look at all I’ve accomplished in 2020!”.

Prep for Your Review

It’s likely you have a performance review coming up, as companies often push “year-end” reviews to January due to the holiday season and wrapping up the year in December. Don’t go into this blind. Instead, use it to gain insight into where your manager sees you, your team and the company as a whole.

As you prepare for this meeting, reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Consider what the team or company is lacking and what you’d like to work towards in the coming year. In an ideal world, all of those things align so that your interests can fill a gap in the company. But, if they don’t, that’s OK too. The whole point of this preparation is to go into your review with an idea of what you want to get out of it.

Show Your Contribution

Once you have a handle on the direction you want to take the meeting with your manager, start to gather “proof” of the contributions you’ve made to the team and the company. Yes, you likely meet with your manager on a regular basis, but if they manage multiple people it’s worth it to remind them of your specific wins and value to the team.

When you’re going about your day to day tasks, it’s easy to lump all of that together in your mind and not consider the bigger picture. So, reflect on how those daily duties impact a team or personal goal. What did you do specifically to help achieve something? Brainstorm how you’ve made a difference before you head into the meeting so you’re armed with examples of your work and worth.

Have the Conversation

Now that you have your messaging prepared and your contributions gathered, it’s time to sit down and talk to your boss about your previous performance and your future work. It’s likely they’re expecting to have this conversation, especially if it coincides with a performance review. But, if you’re having to bring this up separately, give them a heads up a week or two in advance so they can be equally as prepared.

Then dive in and ask for their feedback on your work over the last 6+ months. Ask what you can work on in order to move to the next level and mention the impact you believe you’ve had.

Set Goals

Aim to walk out of the meeting with goals you can work towards. If you can’t nail down specific goals, at least have an idea of what your manager is expecting from you in the near future. Then you can set your own goals and talk through them at your next scheduled meeting.

The conversation and subsequent goal setting are all to make sure that everyone is on the same page so you’re working towards the same thing. Being clear about your goals and your desired path allows your manager to work with you and enable you to not only reach the next level, but do it efficiently.

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