The start of a new year is an opportunity to review and reassess your personal development plan, or PDP, for the next 12 months. While there are many different goals you can set for 2021, such as improving your work-life balance or developing your leadership skills, one of the most common for many will be to get a job promotion.

If you’ve been in the same job role for a while, or you’re looking for a new challenge, now’s the time to set yourself up for the next step in your career.

These tips will help put you in the best position possible to land a job promotion in 2021.

Write down your goal and make a plan

It sounds obvious but the first step to getting a job promotion is to be clear about your objective. Studies show that writing down your goals can make you 42% more likely to achieve them. Writing down your goals is like creating a commitment with yourself: it makes your goal concrete and forces you to get clear on what you want to accomplish – and how you can get there.

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Set a long-term goal to get promoted in 2021 and break this down into smaller goals for the next 3 to 6 months. Consider what you need to make it happen: do you need to take on new projects, or improve your managerial or communication skills? The clearer you are, the easier it will be to hold yourself accountable.

Make your boss aware you want a promotion

It might seem like a simple step but it’s important to ensure your manager knows you’re looking to take the next step in your career.

This doesn’t necessarily mean asking for a promotion outright — particularly if the logical step up is taking your boss’ job. Instead, tell your manager you’re looking to take the next step in your career, and ask what you can do to make it happen.

A common mistake is assuming your boss can read your mind or expecting them to know a promotion is a priority for you. There have been many cases where a role has been vacated and instead of promoting an internal employee who was the obvious fit, the boss has gone straight to external candidates.

So make sure you spell it out to ensure you’re both on the same page, and if you’re unsuccessful, at least you know it wasn’t because you were simply overlooked.

Raise your manager up

One of the best ways to get promoted is to help your manager get promoted. Write down your manager’s responsibilities and scope of work and figure out how to make them look good to their manager.

When discussing promotion opportunities with your boss, ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their life easier. Perhaps they’re overworked and under pressure, or maybe they have an idea for a new project but don’t have enough manpower to make it happen. By getting your manager promoted, you’ll automatically open a promotional opportunity for yourself. Plus, your manager will remember you helped them and put in a good word for you.

Improve your soft skills

If you’re aiming to get a promotion, you need to prove you can rise to the occasion. While you may excel in your current role, the next step may require taking on more responsibility — and, as you move up to more senior positions, soft skills will become more important than technical skills.

Have a look at the job description for the role you’re aiming for, either in your company or similar organisations. Highlight any you’re missing and genuinely explore ways to develop these. This could involve taking dedicated courses, asking for coaching and mentoring, or taking on stretch assignments in addition to your existing scope.

Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the timing just isn’t right in your organisation. In this case, it might be time to cut your losses and look elsewhere. Often, it’s easier to take the next step in your career with a new company rather than waiting it out at your existing employer.

Changing jobs can also bring about a greater salary increase and extra perks, such as a new title or company benefits. And, provided you leave things on good terms with your existing employer, there’s always the opportunity to come back if the opportunity arises in future.

If you’re interested in the current lay of the land, in terms of the Australian market's sentiment for salaries, bonuses and remuneration, plus additional employee benefits, take a look at the findings and insights in our Talent Trends 21 report.

Take a look at the jobs we are hiring for or get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants here.

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