Promotion seekers need to take these 6 steps
One of the major considerations for any job seeker considering a potential place of work as part of their corporate development career path is potential for advancement - prompting common questions such as: Is the organization big enough? Will there be opportunities for promotion when the time comes? So most middle managers prefer applying to large organizations. But is this enough?
Not really. My more than 35 years of experience have taught me that when an advancement opportunity comes along, even large organizations will look outwards for candidates, a clear disadvantage for your corporate development career path. And this is despite what seem to be clear disadvantages for the organization:
- It costs much more than internal hiring.
- The organization knows the candidate less than its own employees.
- It takes much longer to train an external candidate.
- The organization loses out on the experience and knowledge
of an internal candidate.
And despite all of these disadvantages, organizations are often influenced by the following factors:
1. The grass might always be greener on the outside - new people bring in new energy.
2. Familiarity with internal candidates might mean knowing their less desirable traits, which seem to foreground their positive ones.
3. Existing managers won’t leave anyway, so why not try out someone new?
4. The internal candidates are doing such a great job where they are now, so why rock the boat?
5. Many internal candidates without experience in other organizations are often perceived as “not quite ready” for promotion.
7. Hiring internally will upset the apple cart. If one person gets promoted, others will want promotions as well.
8. The organization has never really cultivated a culture of nurturing new manages, so there’s really no choice.
When faced with this long list of reasons for organizations to recruit outside candidates, should you even bother checking if a promotion is possible? Yes, you absolutely should. And here are 6 important steps to take:
1. Check out how many senior managers have actually been promoted from within. This will give you a more realistic picture of your own chances if you are hired.
2. Even if you decide to take the job and you’re promised the world, remember one thing: you are in charge of managing your career, not the organization. While things might seem optimistic at the moment, you can never be sure that you and your organization will always see eye to eye.
3. No one will argue with the fact that you’ve got to build up social and professional credit at your organization, but that won’t bring on a promotion on its own. First and foremost, you need to identify what your next job will be as well as when you want it. Then, you have to share your career goals with your manager.
4. Don’t wait for you annual review to let your boss know you’re working hard towards your next promotion. Explicitly ask your boss what kinds of skills and competencies you need in order to prepare you for your next promotion. And show them you’re on it - whether it’s learning the new skills alone or taking courses after hours.
5. Showcase your accomplishments. Don’t expect your boss to do the math. Show them the connection between what you’re doing and your next promotion.
6. Don’t fall asleep at the switch. Promotion opportunities don’t necessarily appear on the organizational portal. Only through keeping your eyes and ears open will you be able to claim first dibs on such opportunities.
Remember that while potential promotion opportunities are an important part of evaluating a possible new workplace, it should not be the determining factor. Some organizations are meant to be just stepping stones for you, where you can learn new skills and develop as a professional. So if a good opportunity comes along where you can learn - and the prospects of promotion are not necessarily evident - it might be still worth considering.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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