GNcareers, from Gulf News

How to plot your next upward mobility

How to plot your next upward mobilityImage Credit: Supplied

Wanting to move ahead and advance professionally is understandable. But the mistake that many people make is thinking that seniority is enough to win them a promotion.

At many workplaces seniority may be just one factor that management will use to determine who the rising stars are. This may not be a popular thought among long-serving employees, but reality is such that promotions are often granted to those who are not only most experienced, but who show the most potential to handle the coveted job with skill and ambition. This person can be a newcomer or an outsider, and that is why many companies hit the job market to bring in new leaders.

But don't get this wrong. Any decision-maker will look around the office first, and see if someone is capable of doing the job. That is why if you want to move forward, you must position yourself for that job as the best choice, not only among your co-workers but also compared to a newcomer.

You may know the saying that you must dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have. In reality, if you're looking to get a higher position, you actually should also act and work for the job you want. How? Here are three main areas that can help you position yourself as the perfect employee for the next promotion.


You need to leave your supervisor or the decision-maker without a doubt that you can do the job efficiently and even excel. Although many of the tasks may not be within your reach until you actually get the position, you need to present your skills at each opportunity. For example, take a lead on a project, work out recommendations to improve current procedures, or approach your manager with a roadmap for future growth.

When you present your forward-thinking perspective, you present yourself as someone whose qualifications meet, and may exceed, the current job duties.

In addition, it is important that you don't struggle in your current job. If you're trying to position yourself to move forward, make sure the job is done with almost zero errors. In fact, you may begin to improve on the processes in order to clear time for additional tasks. By doing so, you will be able to take on a wider scope of responsibility — the first step into getting the title that matches your ambitions.

It is important to note, however, that this is a process of investment. In other words, you need to put in some effort first before you ask for anything in return. People who believe they are entitled to a pay raise or better designation simply because they want to may be setting themselves up for a big disappointment.

Dedication and interest

Employers can't put a price on enthusiasm. It is one of the most critical traits that everyone looks for in a new leader. You should be genuinely excited about the prospect of the new position.

Wanting a promotion just because it is about time or because everyone in your group — by way of age or position — has moved on isn't enough. You must show you supervisor how your skill-set and talent can be an asset in that job, and how your enthusiasm and dedication can bring in new ideas.

Long-term commitment

Many people think they can twist the employer's arm into giving them a promotion by threatening to leave or accepting a job offer. Although that may get you the result you're looking for on the short term, it won't help you in the long run. Employers want to invest in long-term staff, and if you present yourself as someone always looking for greener pastures, it may undermine the chances of getting that very promotion.

If you sincerely are looking to stick with the employer for years to come, make sure they now that. You don't have to make it a statement, but demonstrate it into your actions and long-term planning. This will definitely help your case, along with other aspects.

Click on Signs that convey it is time to quit jobs

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer is a former Gulf News Business Features Editor and is currently a Seattle-based editor