Promotion is Your Job

In school, no one ever told me that once I entered the workforce, I’d have to promote my work because just doing good work would not get me recognized. I now know this is the case. When we hear the word “manager” we think that implies someone who supports us. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. Many managers are forced into their roles due to tenure and simply do not have the right skills. They may be a fantastic expert in a field but that often does not translate to a good manager. Therefore, it’s up to you to promote yourself.

Keep track of your accomplishments. Ask for a six-month review (even if it’s informal) and annual review to keep your manager informed of your achievements and career goals. If you don’t work directly with your manager on a daily basis, it may be a good idea to send a quick summary to him/her on a regular basis (weekly, bi-monthly or monthly). Do not focus on simple tasks – focus on results. If you are looking to move up in your role or be promoted, you need to focus on tangible, quantitative results.

Don’t assume your manager knows your career goals if you don’t have that discussion. Insist on doing it early in your tenure and outlining job expectations on paper even if a formal process does not exist. Keep in touch with regular updates on achievements. At six-months and one year, ensure that a review occurs.

How do you promote yourself at work?

Unhappy With the Amount of a Proposed Raise?

Your annual review goes well. Your supervisor may tell you that you are getting a raise. You expected it to be higher. What do you do now?

This can be a hard discussion but you need to be prepared for that moment. Determine before your review session what you expect as a reasonable raise. What percentage increase/number would make you happy based on the work you’ve done for the past year? Assess the results of your work, the impact of your work, and the "above and beyond" tasks you took on over the past year, not just your dally duties, and be prepared with specific examples of why you feel you deserve a salary increase. Just saying, “I did great work as you’ve noted, and I should get a X% raise” is not enough.

You should have measurable, quantitative data to back up your claim. For example, did you land clients? Did you find vendors who charge less and you’re now saving the company money? Did you shorten a lengthy process in the office? Did you help with something normally outside your job description? Did you receive praise for your work from a client, customer or senior management? Come review time, it’s helpful to have a record of accomplishments on hand to save you time. I recommend keeping a document or folder on your computer with such records.

How do you approach a salary discussion?