Setting Course for Promotion From Day One

The moment you walk into the office on your first day, you should head for promotion. “Complacency happens when you least expect it,” so setting your course to level up in your role should be a plan you are continually building and implementing. Let’s talk about how to create a plan to set yourself up for promotion in your position.

As with any goals you have in your life – both personal and professional – it is important to envision the end-goal and the process from the very start. Setting your direction this way through research, planning and mindfulness will help keep you from complacency in your role, give you guidelines and measurements to determine your progress, and get you to your promotion in the most efficient way possible.

In 1991, Ursula Burns moved up from Executive Assistant to the senior executive of Xerox to Executive Assistant to the CEO. According to C-Suite Assistants, “in 1999, Burns’ title changed again to Vice President to Global Manufacturing, and a year after that to Senior Vice President.” The blog post entitled The Executive Assistant’s Guide: Tips for Getting a Promotion or Raise on lists four steps an EA can plan to execute before approaching the Executive:

1. More Responsibility

An excellent way to show the Executive that you are ready for a promotion is to request more responsibilities and track your progress while excelling in their completion. First, identify the areas your company or team could use a hand with and ask yourself if you have the time to take over those tasks. While executing this step, do not let your ambition cloud your judgment. Document your progress and make sure to tell your boss about it.

2. Make Your Case

When approached with a promotion request, everyone’s boss asks the same question: Why do you deserve a promotion? It is essential to go into this conversation anticipating this question and already having your reasoning ready to present. In a blog post called How to Ask for a Promotion on his website, Ramit Sethi suggests seven things to consider when planning the answer to this question:

  • Define your value by describing each thing you have contributed to the company throughout your employment.
  • Avoid asking for a promotion on the same day of your performance review.
  • Front-load your promotion request. It will take time and effort, which is why you must start on day one.
  • Determine the timeline for your promotion. Remember details like how long it took to receive your first raise.
  • Set expectations with your boss for three to six months before asking for a promotion.
  • Prepare the Briefcase Technique one to two months before you ask. Press on the link to learn more about this proposal document.
  • Practice everything you have included in your answer for one or two weeks before the big day. Make sure you rehearse.

3. Know How Much Time You Save the Executive

Ashley Bell, the writer of the Snack Nation blog post mentioned above, instructs Executive Assistants to “review a list of your responsibilities and calculate how much time it takes you to perform tasks that your Executive might otherwise have to do.” To finish your calculation, Bell says to “multiply those hours by your best estimate of your Executive’s hourly salary.” As you calculate this vital part of your contribution, remember not to undersell yourself.

4. Ask for Feedback

From day one, as you pick up more responsibilities, gain more experience, and practice a broader range of skills, make sure you document your progress and weaknesses to display how you successfully overcome them. How will you know your weaknesses? During your numerous interactions with management, coworkers, and the Executive, do not forget to ask for some honest feedback on your work.

Follow these four steps the entire time you are working for a company, even if it takes years, and when the time comes to have a conversation about your well-deserved promotion, you will have the support and preparation you need.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer