Are you restless in your current role or looking for more challenging responsibilities at work?

Did you try for a recent promotion at work and get passed up? How do you manage the emotional rollercoaster of taking your career to the next level?

As you continue your journey, it is important to look for things to both start and stop doing to advance your career.  Here are seven strategies for career growth while working toward your next promotion.


1. DO: Analyze Current Performance

Make sure you are exceeding performance expectations and have the experience and credentials to back up a wanted promotion.

Be honest with yourself about your current performance. Doing only the work that is expected of you will not help you stand out—you need to be performing outstanding work that will get you noticed by management. Likewise, keep a positive attitude even if you think you’re overqualified for the position you have currently. Keep engaged in what you’re doing, and do it well, to prove you are serious about the company and the potential to move to that next level.

If not, it’s important to focus on that aspect first. If you are, then begin looking for ways in which you can go above and beyond your requirements to add value to the organization.


2. DON’T: Fly Under the Radar

While working harder to go above and beyond expectations is important for standing out, don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments with your immediate supervisor or other members of the leadership team.  Regular updates that let them know what you have accomplished are also important.

Consider taking on a highly visible project opportunity, either within your department or on a cross-functional team. A project like this will help you build new skills, as well as expand your network and gain name recognition throughout your organization.

Or join a company volunteer committee to demonstrate your motivation and commitment to the organization. This is also a valuable way to expand your professional connections.


3. DO: Find a Mentor

Seek to form a relationship with a mentor. Formal or informal, a mentor should be an individual who is more experienced and offers suggestions for growth, applauds successes, and provides additional insight for managing your career. This individual should be someone who is comfortable with you and willing to provide honest feedback.

Learn more about why you need a career mentor.


4. DON’T: Be Afraid to Speak Up

If you haven’t already been up for a promotion, schedule a meeting with your boss to talk about this idea. Asking for a promotion ranks high for many on the most anxiety-inducing life activities, but it can also be one of the most important things you do for your career. Be prepared when going into the conversation to share what you have accomplished and how it has impacted the organization, as well as the specific position you would like to land. Be open to feedback during this conversation as your boss may offer tips and suggestions for areas of improvement in order to help support your advancement goals.


5. DO: Present Yourself Professionally

You have likely already envisioned where you would like to see yourself in a few years, so begin dressing, talking, and living the role. Even simple actions such as dressing for success will help you feel confident and stand out. Have a good understanding of the expectations within your organization as they may be different depending on your company or department in general.

Be professional with your written and verbal communications and avoid drama or politics within the office. Always be on time or early in the morning, and be willing to stay late if necessary. Presenting yourself professionally will show management that you are committed to your career and the company.


6. DON’T: Play the Blame Game

It’s natural to be disappointed if you haven’t received a promotion; instead of complaining, let management know that you hope to see yourself move up within the organization eventually. Ask for advice about how to get there, and actually take their words to heart.

There is always room to grow, so make a plan to upgrade your skills and knowledge. Stay current by reading articles and noticing what competitors are doing. Show that you’re working to improve your weak spots and deepen your contribution to the company.


7. DO: Stay Positive

Whether you feel like you’re stuck in your current position and you’re intimidated to ask for a promotion, or you have seen someone else receive the promotion you feel you deserved, it’s important to stay positive! Even if you implement all the steps mentioned above, it will still take time to receive that promotion.

Think of your current position as a learning experience rather than a career setback, and stay open to learning. Consider apply for a lateral move that is still a natural step in your career. In some instances, it’s important to demonstrate breadth of qualifications as well as depth in order to advance; lateral moves can support this.

As you improve your skills, prove your value, and become comfortable talking with management, you will find that your promotion is within reach.



Capella University Career Planning has counselors, resources, and tools to help students and alumni manage their careers at every stage.