How to really get promoted

James Caan, an influencer at LinkedIn recently wrote a blog post about how to get promoted. In his post he describes how you should present your recent accomplishments in order to sell your promotion to the decision makers. While that is great advice, it misses the point, twice actually.

First, James believes that you get promoted for what you did in the PAST. That’s far from the case. Think about it: why should an employer promote you for something that you have already done and have already been paid for? A bonus will compensate you for exceptional work in the past. Second, the do-great-work-and-you-will-get-promoted-carrot is only there to keep you motivated.

Would an employer hire you just for your past accomplishments? No, he would not.

An employer will hire you, promote you, and/or give you a raise for what you will accomplish in the FUTURE: The employer has or anticipates a problem that only you can solve or for which you would need the higher job level. Example: You have done excellent work for years and are a great leader of your peers. You should have been promoted to a manager/team lead position a long time ago. But you haven’t and just don’t know why. The reason for this is that there just hasn’t been a fitting position available. Then, a manager resigns and there is a hole to fill. Now, an imminent problem for the company has occured that needs to be dealt with quickly. New hires take long, sometimes even months.

To really get promoted, you need to find the problems that keep your bosses awake at night. Show them the light at the end of the tunnel. After they trust you, they will check your past accomplishments and will then be convinced that you will solve the future problems for them.

Your past accomplishments are therefore a good indication for how you will perform and for what you might achieve in the future. They are not the primary cause for your promotion: The only reason is that your boss, your bosses boss, and so on want to sleep better. If they know their problem is in trusted hands (hopefully yours), then they actually might.

Do your bosses sleep well?

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