Whether you’re in an entry-level position or a well-seasoned professional with years of experience under your belt, there comes a time where you progress past your level and crave something more. No matter what a promotion looks like to you — new responsibilities, the challenge of managing a team, better pay, a higher level of benefits — there are expectations that need to be met in order to get you there.
If you have your eye on a promotion, these day-to-day habits can help get you on the right track to get there. These tasks may seem small, but in time you will see how they all add up to prepare you for that next step in your career.
Log Your Big “Wins”
The road to your next promotion takes time, most likely years to achieve. Over that time, you may forget all that you have accomplished and you can bet your boss (who has several professional careers to monitor) will forget as well. Start logging your projects in a spreadsheet to keep track of all you do. Record what the problem was, how you solved it, and how that solution helped contribute to the company overall. Make sure to log even the little projects — you never know when it may evolve into something of high impact. If there comes a time when you feel you’ve earned a promotion but your boss isn’t on the same page, all the evidence you collected to support your case can help.
Focus on Face Time
Think you’re busy? Just imagine how your manager and your manager’s manager feel! Leading and nurturing the professional growth of employees in addition to daily responsibilities is a huge challenge. In order to balance it all, it’s likely that upper management lumps groups of employees together. Don’t be a faceless employee in a crowd — make sure to get face time with key stakeholders. That way, when new opportunities arise, you are in the forefront of their minds. It could be something as simple as swinging by to check in on your way to the restroom or eating lunch in the kitchen rather than at your desk.
Prioritize Communication Etiquette
Do people at your work describe you as “easy to work with?” This sort of feedback is something that managers look out for in new hires and seek to retain over the years. That means making sure that you stay happy, part of which is progressing in your career. So how do you become “easy to work with?” One of the simplest ways is by prioritizing your communication. No one wants to have to hunt someone down for answers or go out of their way to get something from you to complete their task. Here are a few easy ways to increase your communication flow at the office:
- Respond to emails within an hour of receiving them. Even if you don’t have an answer right away, respond to let them know you are working on it.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, let the person know that you are unsure, but you’ll look into it and get back to them shortly. If you make up an answer and you end up being wrong, people are less likely to trust you and you’ll end up jeopardizing future conversations with that person. Your co-workers will respect your transparency.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you complete work based on assumptions because you were too afraid to clarify they turn out to be wrong — you’ll deliver poor results and waste everyone’s time. That’s the opposite of being easy to work with. Again, your co-workers will respect the time you take to understand the project at hand.
- Never have a screen up during a meeting or conversation with a co-worker — that means laptops, cellphones, whatever! Even if you absently check your screen once, you break down the conversation and signal to the person talking that you are not their first priority, resulting in bad communication. If you want to take notes during a meeting, bring a notepad and pen. Giving your focus to the person communicating will make them feel appreciated and will help prevent unnecessary follow-ups later on.
No matter the business, there is one trait that all employers seek out: hard workers. And there is one thing that sets the best type of hard workers apart from the rest: Working smart, too. Integrating this list of small daily habits into your life will help you move closer to that promotion with only a little change every day.