How to Get That Promotion!

by Amy Boone Thompson on Oct 01, 2007

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.

Put Your Name in the Hat

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!

Get Your Resumé Ready

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.

Recognize Your Advantages

“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.

Recognize Your Disadvantages

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.

Go for It!

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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About the Author

Amy Boone Thompson

Amy Boone Thompson IDEA Author/Presenter

Amy has first-hand experience and expertise in development, implementation and management of fitness programming. Amy is passionate about paying it forward and has been a presenter and author for the franchise and fitness industries for the last decade. She currently serves as Program Director Committee Member for IDEA & Chair for the Board of Advisors for National Personal Training Institute.