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Gone are the days of working hard and putting in the time to get promoted. Seniority doesn’t mean what it used to. So how, you ask, does one move up the ladder?

If you want to get to the next level, you need to actively seek situations where you can show that you’re capable of performing well at the next level. Just being good at your current job doesn’t mean an automatic promotion.

“I didn’t set out to become a leader, so I always come back to my first lesson – just do it. If you’re the first one out there actively doing something to solve a problem then you’ll naturally fall into a leadership role,”
Ellen Sandell says.

If you want to be promoted to manager, act as if you are one, with authenticity and confidence. This doesn’t mean be bossy or try to take on authority that you don’t have. Rather, it’s more of an attitude of responsibility and professionalism and a willingness to step up.

The following tips will help you identify key ways to prove yourself capable of excelling at a higher level.

  1. Exceed your current responsibilities. Make sure you nail every project you work on, and give more than was expected. Even though you have your eye on a promotion, don’t forget about your day job. Make everything you do shine.
  2. Make your boss succeed. Identify your boss’s points of pain and work to solve them. Make sure that your actions are in line with his or her priorities and values. Work on every assignment with the goal of making your boss look good to peers or higher-ups.
  3. Take on leadership responsibilities. No matter how big or how small, accept every opportunity to show your leadership capabilities. Even something as simple as volunteering to chair a charitable contributions campaign in the office can be a vehicle to prove your leadership skills.
  4. Find mentors or role models. Identify those in upper level positions within your company or industry to mould your actions, behaviours, and even attire after. You want to make sure you portray the image of someone at that level. The key is to be authentic and professional. Let your own natural abilities come through.
  5. Be nice. That means to everyone. Someone who is always pleasant to deal with and in control of his or her emotions is someone who gets noticed. Being nice also shows that you value teamwork and co-workers’ thoughts and opinions.
  6. Don’t be overly ambitious. Overly ambitious people come across as pushy and insincere. It’s one thing to discuss your career ambitions with a boss who’s open to these types of conversations, but it’s another to tell everyone you work with that it’s your goal to be their boss in a year. Be humble. Show people that you have what it takes, don’t tell.
  7. See the opportunities that others are missing. Find ways to solve problems or tackle those issues that everyone else avoids. Always be on the look out for ways to improve processes or service and not only in your own team. Think cross-departmental relationships.
  8. Show your pride and passion. Take pride in everything you do and let your natural passion for the work shine through. Don’t whine or complain. Your attitude speaks more than you think.
  9. Be the expert. Be the go-to person. Become the one person that others turn to in times of need, and when something opens up, you’ll be thought of. Always keep expanding your knowledge of the company and its functions, technical issues, and processes. The more you know, the better you are positioned to step in and help.
  10. Build your network. Don’t just focus on knowing the people in your department. Get to know others around the company. Along the way, you’ll pick up greater knowledge about the company and how it functions. And you’ll have a network of people who might think of you when positions open up around the company.

Focus on these ten tips, keep exceeding your perceived value to the company, and you’ll soon be noticed for those promotions that come along. Act as if you’re promotable, with authenticity and confidence.

Michelle is a success and leadership coach who works with HR professionals and business leaders who want to get real results and live & lead with purpose.  You can find out more about Michelle at
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