A familiar lament from skilled professionals is: "Why isn't my boss promoting me?" As an employee, it would seem as if that is the logical career progression. You serve well in a specific capacity, and like grades in school, as you have mastered a particular level you are promoted to the next. Of course, in school, it is possible for every first grader to become a second grader. Not so in most professions. As you rise higher in your organization, the number of positions decreases. From a sheer numbers perspective, not every qualified candidate will be promoted.
Additionally, in many corporate environments, there is no incentive for your boss to promote you. By promoting a good employee, the boss now must endure recruitment, on-boarding and training processes. Even a highly motivated and qualified recruit can take a few years to be as productive as you are right now. Most bosses would prefer to keep their highly trained and productive staff exactly where they are for as long as possible. This means you must be responsible for promoting yourself.
Gather Information -- When you feel you have mastered your current role, the next step is to consider next steps. What type of position interests you? Where in an organization would be the best match for your skills?
Those In The Know -- Speak with your manager, HR, and mentors. Read position descriptions and job postings. Look for ones that intrigue you.
Wide Net -- Consider your next role(s). Think about your department, the larger organization and the industry. Perhaps there is a new role that requires similar skills in a completely different environment. If you are mobile, look in a wider geographic circle.
Fine Tune -- Really read the requirements for the jobs which you are applying. Match your background, the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities. If there are any gaps, consider assignments or courses to reduce these gaps.
Resume Review and Revision -- Edit, consolidate and revise your resume so that it mimics the requirements for the next job. Make it easy for the recruiters to pick you.
Be Visible -- Step up for cross-functional assignments, join industry networking groups, volunteer for causes you support. The more people you tell that you are open to new opportunities, the more likely you are to find the right job.
Connect -- Use social media to your advantage. Let your friends know on Facebook, keep you options open on LinkedIn, and arrange coffee chats/calls to discuss your job search. Be sure to touch base with your alma mater as well. Many colleges and university have alumni databases and posting boards to assist with your search.
Bring In the Professionals -- As you progress in your field, the greater the likelihood that you should work with a search firm. In addition to supplying solid leads, recruiters can also provide you with valuable feedback about your resume and interviewing skills.
Doing your job and working hard are not the best ways to get ahead. In terms of human resources theory, doing your job and working hard are why you receive your paycheck. If you want to be promoted, you must think strategically. You must go above and beyond. The beginning of the year is a perfect time to plan where you would like to go in the next few months. Start networking now. Freshening your technical skills. Update your resume so that you find a job posting for the perfect match, you are ready for the next relationship -- a job you can really love.