The key to unlocking internal promotions
Many agree that small business is the backbone of our economy, and that’s certainly true to a point. After all, 1.4 million of the 2.3 million Australian small business employ less than 20 people, and 61% of them do not employ anyone at all. At the other end of the scale, there are about 4,000 Australian employers with at least 200 workers, including some whose workforces’ number in the thousands.
In contrast, big business contributes more than 70% of the nation’s turnover, a significant number. It’s these enterprises that offer long-term promotional opportunities which are unattainable to workers in smaller firms.
Practical tips for internal promotions
Internal candidates have one significant advantage over external recruits. Put simply, the boss already knows you. Secondly, it’s far more expensive to recruit, hire and train somebody from outside the company who may not be familiar with internal processes. That’s not to say employers don’t value bringing ‘fresh eyes’ to their company, but it costs about $5,000 to fill a vacancy by an outside candidate (and far more for managerial jobs).
Internal candidates have an advantage, but only if they plan their application well. Your manager already has your CV and first-hand knowledge of your professional attributes. To stand out against others, it is best to highlight what business leaders refer to as ‘soft skills.’ These are the attributes that may not be apparent inclusions on a standard resume, such as your ability to get along with your fellow workers and external stakeholders alike. Communication, negotiation, presentation, and critical thinking are other valuable soft skills. All these traits help you to learn the art of networking while avoiding office politics.
A highly valued soft skill is a willingness to learn. Showing your dedication to upskilling by undertaking a diploma course can prove that you’re serious about promotion. Taking time to study outside your regular work hours, at a schedule to suit you, is the perfect way to show you can go the extra yard. The College for Adult Learning offers courses in management and many other disciplines, and this could be the type of qualification you need to elevate yourself from a potentially crowded field.
Setting yourself up for success
Studies show that self-starters are the most likely to attract the boss’ attention. Here are three ways to show you are ready for a promotion:
- Look within your industry (but outside the company) to develop contacts who might be able to help. Online platforms such as LinkedIn have grown exponentially as a reflection of the rapidly changing employment landscape. For example, in the field of marketing, 91% of executives cite LinkedIn as their ‘go-to’ place for finding quality content. ‘Content’ might consist of anything from an anecdotal piece about your workforce experience, through to more specialised information about your field of expertise. The point is, your opinion (and experience) can get noticed, if you are prepared to invest a little time and effort. That is a powerful tool in anyone’s armoury.
- At a more grassroots level, engaging with fellow-minded professionals by joining industry groups, meetings, or online forums, all indicate your dedication to your profession.
- Locate the thought leaders and influencers in your industry and follow them online. Building a private library of resources to quote and share with others will make you appear ahead of the average employee.
If you combine this level of commitment with a personal pitch about why you deserve a promotion, you’ll have a stable platform upon which to launch your application. Enhancing your qualifications via a diploma will add yet another feather in your cap when recruitment committees are deciding the ideal applicant for any vacancy.
Back to the future: why cover letters matter for internal promotions
You might think a cover letter is unnecessary or at best, redundant in the process of applying for a promotion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember your first interview? You can almost guarantee that your cover letter is what helped get that ‘foot in the door’.
Yes, hiring managers have a suite of other tools at their disposal, such as social media profiles, from which they can filter their shortlist of candidates who might otherwise be identically qualified. A concise, engaging cover letter can make all the difference. If you are studying a diploma to enhance your career, then use the cover letter to profile your new skills.
Remember, you also have a competitive advantage by knowing your company’s ethos, or everyday ‘language’. Take time to formulate your cover letter to suit. Point out your loyalty, your achievements, and your ambitions. Emphasise your ambition and articulate your strengths.
Convince your boss you’re doing them a favour
Employers value loyalty and ambition, but good ones always have an eye to the future. They must ensure their business is well placed with human capital to meet the ongoing challenges of an ever-changing labour market. For this reason, mentorship is critical to promotion. Studies have found that employees with mentors are 22% more likely to be retained, and the vast majority (84%) became better at their jobs a lot faster than those without one. Find an influential mentor within the company and look for ways to mentor others who are junior to you. You’ll be seen to create a win-win, from everyone’s perspective.
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Act now to improve future promotion prospects
If it’s an internal promotion you’re after, start putting your upskilling plans into place now. Consider improving your future chances with a current qualification. Enrolling in a relevant diploma course to further your skills might give you the competitive advantage that others inside the company may not have the foresight to consider.
Read up on the annual business plans and research what skillsyour company needs and wants in a manager, then position yourself to get better qualified. Ask your manager if there is room in the training and development budget to help fund your course and convince them why investing in you is the right move.
How to get promoted at work
Naturally, competition for promotions in large companies is fierce. They attract candidates from a wide range of fields for reasons including better infrastructure, mentorship opportunities, employee benefits, and enhanced promotional opportunities. Internal candidates, who may have spent months or even years positioning themselves for an in-house promotion will always have to face off outside candidates. How to get promoted at work is all about knowing how to separate yourself from the herd. Developing your long-term worth and value is the solution to internal promotion.