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How to Get Promoted At Work — 7 Simple Methods


Sometimes at work, it can feel like everyone’s getting promoted except you. 

If you’re looking to climb the career ladder, seeing others get promoted can be particularly frustrating, but there are a few strategies you can employ to help you improve your chances of being selected for that coveted position. 

Here are 7 simple methods that you can use to get promoted at work. 

1. Develop your USP (Unique Selling Point)

What is it about you as an employee that means that it would be silly not to promote you?

Maybe you can put out stock faster than anyone else in your department. Maybe you can fly through payroll admin faster than everyone. Maybe you’re the only person who really understands that temperamental CRM system that makes everyone’s life a misery. 

Whatever your role, focus on one aspect of it and get really, really good at it. This will help you to catch, and hold, the attention of a manager who’s looking for someone to promote. In effect, you’re developing your Unique Selling Point (USP) as an employee – the reason why you should be promoted and not someone else.

Here’s how to find your USP: 

  • Identify your skills and what you’re good at – develop those!
  • Think about what benefits these skills provide your employer
  • Be consistent in your presentation of that USP

2. Hone your professional knowledge

Having an excellent grasp of relevant knowledge to your role is one way to help you stand out for a promotion. 

That’s because employees with additional professional qualifications stand a much better chance of getting promoted at work than those without. That’s because professional qualifications can help to prove to a manager that you have the specialist knowledge of your career field to excel in a higher role. 

The exact type of professional qualification that you could choose to study will depend on the industry you’re in. 

Most industries will have a body that’s responsible for maintaining standards within it, and they’ll usually do that through offering qualifications.

 For example, the standards of the Human Resources profession are maintained by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), the Accountancy and Bookkeeping industry by the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and a variety of Chartered Accountancy bodies like ACCA and CIMA, and the Marketing industry by the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing). 



3. Network, network, network!

Networking isn’t just useful for getting a job – it’s also a really useful way to help yourself stand out and increase your chances of getting promoted.

Networking involves developing relationships with other people across the business that allow you to draw upon the different skills, knowledge and experiences of a team to get tasks completed.

A recent Hubspot survey, for instance, found that 87% of jobs are filled by networking. There’s no denying that it’s a valuable strategy to consider if you’re desperate to scale that slippery career ladder.

The pragmatic benefit of networking is that it simply helps people remember who you are. Hiring managers are more likely to choose someone whose skills they’re familiar with rather than a complete stranger, so it pays to make sure that as many people at your organisation know who you are and what you’re good at if you’re looking for a promotion.

4. Be a good listener

Working on your listening skills can really improve your chances of getting promoted at work, proving to your management team that you have a sophisticated grasp of a skill that’s absolutely essential in more senior roles in your workplace.

We can often think of listening as being a skill that everyone already has. You’re born with the ability to listen, right? Well, technically, yes. That doesn’t mean that you can listen well though.

A survey by Accenture Research found that 96% of professionals think that they’re good listeners – so practically everyone in your workplace.

Being a good listener is about more than just keeping your mouth shut when other people speak – it’s about really hearing what the other person is saying and responding to it in a meaningful way that helps you advance the conversation along.

Here are a few tips to improve your listening skills:

  • Make use of non-verbal communication to support the conversation and aid mutual understanding, like body language
  • Develop your active listening skills: reflect on what you’re hearing and respond with relevant questions
  • Summarize and restate what you hear to the person you’re talking to

  • 5. Show that you can lead

It goes without saying that if you’re planning on climbing the career ladder in your organisation, at some point, you’ll be looking to get promoted to a role where you’ll need leadership skills.

As a result, demonstrating that you have the right qualities to lead a team is pretty essential when it comes to being an attractive candidate in a competitive field.

Leadership isn’t just a case of barking orders at people. To be a good leader takes a blend of a whole range of soft skills that can be challenging to master.

Most hiring managers will be looking for leadership skills and traits like:

  • Being target-focused and goal-orientated
  • Being a good communicator
  • Being a good multi-tasker
  • Having a good awareness of business concerns
  • Being able to think strategically about a situation

6. Request, listen to and implement feedback

Your ability to receive and implement feedback is one of the key traits that managers will look for when it comes to identifying which employees to promote. That’s why you should get good at receiving it gracefully and acting on it. 

Taking on board criticism can be a hard thing to do at first. It’s easy to take feedback personally and see it as a mark of failure on your part, rather than as something that you can use to develop and grow.

After all, everyone makes mistakes. If you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, how can you stop doing it?

A recent article on The Muse went into some of the best ways to listen and use feedback constructively to improve your skills. You can easily put this into practice when you’re trying to make yourself stand out for the right reasons to management.

7. Demonstrate responsibility for success (and failure)

Part of showing that you have the potential to excel in a promotion is convincing your colleagues and managers that you’re accountable for your actions.

Accountability means taking responsibility for your successes, along with your failures. It’s about not being afraid to admit when you’ve screwed up and also not being afraid to take the compliments and respect when you achieve something great.

This blog on the Entrepreneur has some great tips for how to receive compliments gracefully if you find it difficult!

We hope this blog has given you some useful things to think about and implement if you’ve got your eye on a promotion at work.

Inspired to seek that promotion you’ve dreamed? Invest in a professional qualification today and improve your chances! Get your free course guide here.

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