How to Get That Promotion!
Tips for advancing within your organization.
Assuming a new role or position in your organization can be an enriching and rewarding experience. Just like finishing your freshman year of high school and starting your first day as a sophomore, accepting a new position can offer a fresh perspective in familiar territory. At the very least, it will enable you to get a little more respect, a lot more responsibility and perhaps a more appealing benefit and compensation package.
However, preparing for your next role will require a concerted effort on your part. Career advancement is much more involved than simply waiting around until a position becomes vacant. Learn how to get a promotion by acquiring key skills that will prepare you for the next step.
You may already have your eyes set on your next position, or you may be hesitant to take on new responsibilities. Remaining in your current position can be quite comfortable because you know what is expected of you. Whether you feel you have the necessary skills to advance to a higher position or you are doubtful, sometimes you just need a little encouragement to take a risk and test your abilities. Ask your supervisor for additional tasks you can take on while you are in your current role. This will build your confidence and give you a chance to “try on” some of the jobs that you might be applying for if you decide to climb to another rung on that career ladder. Plus, it is more acceptable (and even anticipated) if you make some mistakes if you are only in an “acting” position!
At a minimum, you should update your resumé on a quarterly basis. Many resumés lack “juicy” content, because they are often quickly pieced together as an afterthought when an opportunity presents itself. The key is to have your resumé complete and ready when opportunity comes knocking.
So what exactly is considered “juicy” content? What kind experience will make your resumé stand out from the rest of the pile on your manager’s desk? You should make certain that your resumé includes:
- a description of any programs you successfully launched or helped to run, with your specific role delineated and the success of the program quantified with specific statistics, if possible.
- a record of all past and current volunteer work; contributing to the future of your community is admirable and shows you are an involved and considerate person.
- a recitation of all pro bono work (fitness professionals are frequently asked to do work for no pay, so remember to document these experiences).
- a concise description of all previous positions that will highlight any leadership and customer service roles you have held, even in unrelated fields.
Experts also recommend that you keep your resumé highlights brief and to the point. Simplicity is key here, since many managers are pressed for time. Finally, do not hesitate to brag a little (but don’t ever lie on a resumé!). After all, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?
Keep in mind that you are a known entity at your organization, which may give you a leg up on the competition. Your supervisors have a live work history to draw on when considering you for a promotion. They don’t need to conduct an initial interview to determine whether you have a good work ethic, you are punctual and you can build a clientele independently. They already know what they can expect from you. You may not have all of the skills needed for the advanced position, but if you have proven invaluable to your team, it will be difficult for them to pass you by.
“Growing up” in an organization can give you a number of advantages over other job candidates when you are trying to secure a promotion. You know your facility, products and services better than any outsider. You understand and “live” your company’s values and vision. You may have helped design the facility’s floor plan, select fitness equipment or even given input for the color of the walls.
In many ways, your experience at your organization sets you apart from the other applicants. If the company and department are moving in a positive direction in both aptitude and attitude, you will want to bring to management’s attention all of the ways in which you contribute to this good blend of talent. Point out things that are going well in the organization and how you have played a role in the cohesiveness of this team.
If, however, your organization needs a morale lift, a fresh perspective or a clean slate, hiring someone outside the club may seem more appealing for upper management. If that is the case, don’t despair, just change tactics. Focus instead on coming up with new ideas and suggestions that address any company issues, and suggest ways that you can work to solve these issues while within the current leadership and structure.
Remember, too, that there can be certain challenges if and when you accept a promotion within your current organization. Chief among them is that you could be put in a position where you are managing the people who are currently your peers. The same co-workers you have socialized with in the past (who may have even seen you in compromised moral or legal dilemmas) may now be reporting to you. This could engender feelings of jealousy in those co-workers, and they may even find ways to challenge your new leadership role. Some may also feel that they have a “pass” when it comes to staying within the organization’s rules, or they could try to manipulate situations based on their personal connection to you. Whatever the case, recognize that such attitudes can present a potential snag and decide in advance how you will handle it should the situation occur.
Getting a promotion within your company can make you a shoo-in or a long shot. If you feel you are the right person for a position, and that position is right for you, go get it! Prepare yourself for the new role by modeling the behaviors and characteristics of the person who currently holds that position. Take on additional responsibilities, but keep excelling in every aspect of your current position. Keep your resumé current, and seek out ways to improve on it. Recognize where you will need to develop yourself in order to compete with other applicants. Finally, consider your relationships with your peers and how that may be impacted by a change in your role.
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Are you considering applying for a higher position in your current organization? First you need to ask yourself if you are really ready for the additional responsibilities or are simply looking to augment your salary.
“Promotions are wonderful if you have really spent the time learning what you want and need to make you happy,” says Darleen Keegan, account manager at eBay Fitness Center in San Jose, California. “If you take on a promotion just for the money, it may not be the best fit for you or the company. Figure out how your talents and skills can best be utilized. Then look at the promotion and weigh the pros and cons before you make any decision.”
While this column has focused on how to get a promotion, there are considerations when you are a manager who interviews existing employees.
What specific skills should you look for in employees who apply for advancement? First, you need to identify those individuals who have demonstrated leadership qualities. These are employees who have proven that they can diplomatically and respectfully bring a group of people to action. Look for employees who have asked for additional responsibilities and followed through with given tasks in their current roles. Seek out those people who work well with others and have exhibited high values that are consistent with that of your organization.
Paul David, fitness director at The Sporting Club at Aventine in San Diego has this advice: “The biggest quality to look for is someone who is a self-starter; someone who takes the initiative to grow professionally without any prodding. Such individuals are demonstrating that, regardless of however successful they might be in their current position, they still want more and are willing to spend the time, money and effort to prepare themselves for future opportunities and stay current in their field.”
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