Many people seeking a promotion remain passive until they see it going to someone else. This approach could be a result of overconfidence of worthiness or just missing the fact that getting a promotion is similar to getting a new job as far as selling yourself.
The good news, however, is you know more about the organisation in which you’re seeking this new position, and may be able to know exactly which skills can position you ahead of your rivals — those are the coworkers who are candidates for the position. The bad news is your record will be taken into consideration, and that is something that you may find hard to alter in time.
In all cases, if you’d like to position yourself for a particular job, you need to ensure that these following points are covered:
There is a good amount of office politics and relations involved in any promotion decision. Before you get your hopes up, check where you stand with key persons around the office. If you’re highly regarded as a professional and a person, you probably have nothing to worry about.
If you’ve been through fierce office clashes and conflicts, you probably need to do an immediate damage control. This begins with adopting a constructive tone and trying to make amends. In many cases, that can’t be done on a short notice.
In particular, watch out for how your efforts will be seen. You don’t want to be taken as a suck-up, and you don’t want to compromise your stands on long-fought battles.
It is really a thin line to walk, but typically resolving any issues can help you on the long run. What matters most is to put out any fires, and at least restore as much civility as possible in the relationship with decision makers and influencers.
Your skill set
Be realistic about your abilities and skills. Many people are hurt by being passed over for promotion without looking at whether they have what the job needs or not. Again, look at the job as a new one, do your qualifications match the opening? Even more important, have you been able to show the initiative required for the advancing the job?
Many hiring managers look at the long-prospects when it comes time to hire a new person. In short, you may be qualified to take the job today, but you’re not the right fit for the job a year down the road.
Your knowledge of your employer’s plans and strategies should be a good indicator of whether that job is evolving or not. Someone who has been creative, open to new ideas and able to develop and grow with the organisation will make a better choice if the employer is looking at long-term considerations.
If you’re moving to a manager position, your employer probably will be looking into how you will fare in people management. If your record shows poor people skills and lack of management experience, you may not be the best choice even if you’ve the technical knowledge for the job. With that in mind, you need to adopt an approach that reflects your abilities.
That is not to say you should manage workers who don’t report to you, but you should demonstrate your ability to take charge of projects, mobilise efforts and get consensus from everyone involved. By doing so, you position yourself as a leader, even if you’re not. Coworkers will see you as one, and your superiors probably will see your ambition and your capabilities first hand. The secret to doing that is how you can work closely with others while respecting their domains.
Fill in the gaps
As much as you need to highlight your abilities, you also need to take a look at your shortcomings. Your exercise should aim to fix them as soon as possible by seeking mentoring, training, learning, etc. But if you don’t have time to do so for an immediate opening, be prepared to explain how your knowledge outweighs these aspects.
Your knowledge of what your employer is looking for and admitting your shortcomings can help you at least get the hiring manager’s attention. After all, if you get passed over this time, your efforts to acquire these missing skills will mean that next time the job will probably be yours.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to Gulf News
Former Gulf News Business Features Editor is a Seattle-based editor.