Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

10 Tips for Getting a Promotion at Work

By Charles Trivett | Mar 9, 2016 | Candidate Tips

woman raising her hands to the sky with happinessHard work always pays off – right? Wrong.

The truth is; most managers don’t want to promote the ultra-committed staff member who works from 6.30am till 9pm and has completely sacrificed their social life.

Despite anything else, the risk of that employee “burning out” is just too high.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are some things that can be done to boost your profile and increase your likelihood of getting a promotion.

And they don’t require you to give up your life…

1. Build strong working relationships.

The truth is; most bosses will promote people that they know and like.

Don’t hide yourself away; make your presence known (in a good way) and when promotions come around, at least your boss will know who you are and what you’re about.

If they can’t put a face to your name, they’ll think you’re forgettable and that you obviously don’t impact the business that much.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Of course, you should also make a real effort to get on with your colleagues too.

You’re going to have a rough ride if no one particularly likes you and your boss could well be put off promoting you if they think it’ll cause trouble.

Building relationships should be your Number 1 priority at work. Click here to find out why.

2. Show that you care.

Getting into work uber-early and staying late (probably) won’t cut it.

You need to appear passionate, interested and enthusiastic about the success of the business, not just your own job and career.

The most “engaged” staff will post and share positive things on social media, celebrate wins with the rest of the team, ask questions and offer help etc.

3. Make a note of your successes.

When it comes to decision day, you really do need to be armed with some stats and figures that show off your successes.

You’re going to need to show your employer some evidence of times when you’ve gone the extra mile, learnt something new, solved a problem, received some great feedback etc.

Of course, if you can keep your boss regularly updated with these positive things (without driving them mad with constant emails) then you should.

Employers will always want to know why you think you should get the job.

4. Don’t make excuses.

Sometimes, things go wrong. (Most) managers will appreciate that.

What they won’t appreciate, is when you start making excuses or blaming other people for your mistakes.

If you screwed up, admit that you screwed up and show your boss how you’re going to solve the problem…

5. Bring solutions, not problems.

In the same vein, don’t simply show up and tell your boss you’ve got a problem, without offering some sort of solution.

You want to be remembered as a problem-solver not a problem-starter!

6. Speak up.

The most useful people to have in a business are those who are willing to speak up. Those people are the ones who always go the furthest.

Recruiter Pro Tip.

This includes challenging people – even your boss!

Most (great) managers will understand the value of someone who can and will question their work and offer opinions from a different perspective – because no one is infallible.

Of course, you really must make sure that you’re challenging constructively and not confrontationally – click here for some tips on that.

It doesn’t matter if your idea flops; if you’re bringing something to the table in the first place, your boss will respect you more than those who keep quiet and don’t offer anything.

7. Just do more, different stuff.

Define your own job role; don’t wait for your Manager to do it for you.

Start slowly taking on new tasks, learning new things and asking for more responsibilities.

Transform your job role and then show your boss what you’ve been up to.

(Obviously, you’ll have to do this whilst keeping up with your day job – easier said than done!)

8. Predict the future.

Now, this is a difficult one.

But if you can get to a stage where you’re pre-empting tasks that need doing, IE, before your boss even asks you to do them, then you’re in a truly powerful position.

They certainly won’t want to lose you!

9. Keep a work-life balance.

Like I said earlier, going overboard with overtime simply isn’t impressive anymore.

In fact, it can actually make you look bad – if you’re clearly not capable of getting your day job done within your set hours.

I’m not saying you should refuse to work any overtime; sometimes, it is necessary, but in general try to find ways to work smarter and get things done quicker.

If your workload is truly ridiculous, then it might be time to actually speak up (see point 6) and ask your manager for help.

10. Know what you want.

Before you start working on any of the above, you need to decide exactly what you want to achieve.

This will help to focus your efforts and prove to your boss that you’re ready for that specific career path.

There’s no point showing off how absolutely amazing you are at sales, when your end goal is to become an HR Manager!

Keep focussed.


If you do all of the above then you will truly become an indispensable part of your business.

Of course, that could mean that your boss will try to make you stick around.

That could be a positive thing – they might offer you more money, perks etc.

But it could also be a negative thing – I’ve actually come across managers who constantly put their staff down, so that they lost confidence and never thought they’d find another job again.

Be on the lookout for bad, bully bosses and above all else, protect your happiness.

If you’d like to read more career blogs like this one, click here to subscribe to a short weekly update from us.

- Charles Trivett
Charles - blog author

Charles Trivett

Charles heads up Coburg Banks’ IT Division, and has worked in recruitment for nearly 20 years.  His knowledge of how to optimise and get the most from a recruitment campaign is second to none, and he now works with a select handful of clients in maximising their recruitment ROI.

> More blog posts by Charles Trivett

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