10 Ways for First-Time Employees to Get a Promotion

Jul 27, 2014 by

About to join the ranks of working professionals? You’ve probably got a lot on your mind. First-time employment can be anxiety-inducing, but it’s also an admittedly exciting rite of passage. Keep the following 10 tips in mind as you prepare for your first day on the job:

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Image: flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76

1. Learn your responsibilities quickly.

You’ve been hired to carry out a specific set of tasks, and it’s essential that you are able to do this unsupervised. Everyone else has their own responsibilities, and they wouldn’t have hired you if they had time to constantly keep an eye on you as well.

2. Listen more than you talk.

When you’re to professional life, or even to a new company for that matter, you’re going to accomplish more by listening than you will by talking. Learn the ropes, consider the advice of others and be open to the possibility that they know better than you. When you do speak up, your words will have greater impact.

3. Watch the manager for hints at the company culture.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, company culture informs the way employees think, feel and act. The quicker you internalise it, the easier and more quickly you’ll rise through the ranks. Presumably, the managers are going have a stronger grasp on how the company thinks, so look to them. Finally, give it a chance to sink in before you decide whether you like the company culture or not.

4. Reserve sick days for days you’re really sick.

The first time you call in sick, some people are going to assume that you were just taking the day off. Maybe that’s what they do; maybe the company’s been burned by new hires before. Regardless, you should reserve these days off for legitimate illness. By all means, get a doctor’s note.

5. Demonstrate your value.

Let your managers see that you bring something to the job. Go out of your way to acquire skills; resist the temptation to be even a few minutes late; and overhaul the position you’re filling in such a way that there would be a vacuum if you left.

6. Seek added responsibilities.

If you find that you’re completing tasks ahead of schedule, look for other ways that you can contribute. If you have ever soughtCV tips by Career Savvyor a similar agency, you’ll already know that this sort of behaviour accomplishes more than merely garnering positive attention. It also fills out your resume for future job-seeking.

7. Practice self-promotion…

Self-promotion is a legitimate means of getting your ideas heard. Presumably, you have good ideas and insight that the executive staff might even appreciate hearing, if only you had their attention. Achieve this through the following:

  • Networking
  • Name-dropping
  • Acts of kindness

Don’t be ashamed to let them know who you know, where you’ve been and what you can do. Stop short of bribing people, but don’t shy away from buying a round of take-out lattes or ordering a pizza to share in the office at lunch. Self promotion could—in all honesty—get your promoted.

8. But avoid brownnosing like the plague.

This is a slippery slope, and a lot of low- to mid-level employees are not going to agree with us on this one. However, there is a marked difference between legitimate self-promotion and targeted, shallow flattery designed to win the approval of managers and executives. That’s a turn-off, and nobody likes it—not even those on the receiving end. In your quest to promote yourself as a likeable person with good ideas, make a point of being nice to everyone equally. Then everyone will take positive notice, including those with the power to move you up to the pay grade you deserve.

9. Leave your personal life at home.

Everyone in the office has a personal life. Relationship problems, pictures of your pets and recollections of the dream you had last night are best left to your friends (though it’s probably questionable whether they’d even like to hear about the last couple). A sprinkling of your personal life is humanising. Just keep it light.

10. Maintain grounded expectations.

Promotion takes time; many first-time employees from the Millennial generation are prone to job-hopping. Keep an inventory of how things are going, and don’t just walk from a job because, as it turns out, you don’t really fancy working. Maintain realistic expectations, and your next career could involve a significant promotion.


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