One of my clients’ top priorities is developing a robust career strategy. Frequently, they have a specific promotion or salary increase in mind. One of the best ways to achieve either of these goals is with internal networking. Effectively, you’re building a group of internal advocates who can speak highly of your work and bring support to your candidacy when the time comes.
Here are the top 3 things you need to do to get you closer to that promotion!
Find a mentor
I think it’s important to define “mentor” first. Unless we’re the president or owner of the organization, we have a supervisor we report to. Yes, we have direct reports, but we’re still accountable to someone.
A mentor is also someone who keeps us accountable. They’ve somebody who can bring us under their wing and keep us on the path towards career success. A mentor can be someone such as:
A tenured co-worker;
A community leader;
Someone else in your profession that is more tenured.
Finding a mentor isn’t necessarily a straightforward approach. There are a few steps you’ll need to take to find one:
Decide what you need to get out of a mentor/mentee relationship;
Develop a list of possible names, both inside and outside of your network;
Come up with a short “elevator pitch” on why you’d like to work with them.
Reach out to them via Linkedin or with a quick email
When you work with a mentor regularly, you can let them know your short-term and long-term promotion goals. In return, they can help you determine if they are realistic and if you’re on the right path to achieving them.
While working with them, track your performance and quantify your results. That way, when you sit down with your mentor, you have concrete data to go over. Keep track of this data can help you gain clarity on how much closer you are to that coveted promotion.
Next, it’s critically important to get involved with others within your organization. We all know that companies look for “team players” when it comes to hiring. Look for opportunities to work with others outside of your primary job on a collaborative project. After all, a person who works well with others is one step closer to getting promoted.
From time to time, you may have the chance to be a mentor yourself. For the same reasons as to why you need a mentor, there are many opportunities for you to share your expertise with co-workers who need assistance.
Involvement in a mentoring program also demonstrates to your organization that you’re ready to move into a managerial role (or if you’re already in one, the next step up the corporate management ladder). Showing you can influence, develop, and train people is one of the key ways to show your readiness for a promotion.
As an extension of that, look for opportunities to grow your skills. Helping out someone else may mean more than their success — it also means you’re learning new things and expanding your internal value to the organization. When you get involved, say, you’re both learning how their team functions and diversifying your skill set in another department. In turn, they can also give you that added support when it comes time for a promotion.
Be a “bright spot” in the organization.
Career strategy often involves a reframing of how we engage with others. Work can be and will be stressful. No matter what you face, keep a positive attitude at all times. Avoid office gossip as much as possible. Stay out of office politics too. Don’t let others bring you down. Even when you feel overwhelmed, be a bright spot to others on your team. Our stresses can make us more prone to negative engagement. When we engage with others positively, they’ll be inspired by your positivity and, in the end, look to you as someone who can lead and guide them through challenges.
Marketers often like to use the phrase “thought leader” to describe someone who sees things differently and can challenge others to think more creatively. This term doesn’t just apply to marketing, although to some extent, that’s precisely what you’re doing. As a thought leader in your organization, you’re demonstrating your commitment to improving the company. It can showcase your ability to increase efficiency or how to build better relationships with clients. Thought leaders stand out, which is something you’ll need to do when seeking a promotion. So how does this tie back to internet networking?
You’re building a professional brand that others can both rely on and look up to.
Personal branding shows that you take pride in your work, helps you stand out, and — when it’s a positive brand image — turns the rest of the team into your most prominent advocate.
Internal networking is the best way to show you’re ready for a promotion
Your mentor can help you navigate your career strategy, providing you with guidance on the next steps you should take. When you get involved with others, it builds relationships and advocates and allows you to give back through mentoring others. And when built positively, you see positive results.
Another fantastic way to move forward on that promotion is to download my free Salary and Promotion Negotiation Guide. Click HERE and fill out the short form — I’ll send it to you right away!
Are you looking to take the next step with your career? Then the best way to do that is to work directly with a career coach like myself. I am a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Certified Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner, with a mission to help BIPOC professionals achieve their desired career success. It’s easy to set up a time to chat: just visit my contact page here to schedule your appointment today!