Career Center Blog

January 26, 2011

Want a promotion this year? Start angling for it now


industry.pngLooking to move up in the work world? You may be surprised to learn that along with the start of the year, summer may be one of the best times to nab a promotion at your company.

LinkedIn announced today that it crunched the numbers and found that January, June, and July are the top months for U.S. workers to get promoted by their employer.

What's more, the 90-million-member networking site discovered that this summer spike in promotions is even more pronounced in the accounting, defense and space, education management, higher education, military, non-profit organization management, and research sectors. (See more of LinkedIn's findings about promotion trends.)

So what does this mean for you? If "Get that blasted promotion already!" is one of your top goals for 2011, the time to show your boss that you're promotion material is now.

"Don't wait until your review rolls around," says LinkedIn spokesperson Krista Canfield. Instead, Canfield suggests several steps you can take this winter to position yourself for a future career boost:

Have a heart-to-heart with your boss. Tell her you'd like to kick your career up a notch. To show you're willing to do whatever it takes, Canfield advises asking your manager, "What do I need to do to get to that level?" Then get to work implementing her suggestions.

Beef up your skill set. Of course, you can't solely rely on your boss to tell you how to catapult your career. Taking the initiative to acquire new skills -- particularly those you'll need on the next rung of your company -- can greatly help your cause, Canfield says. If being promoted means you'll be giving more presentations, take a public speaking class. Seek out opportunities for training offered or funded by your employer. And by all means, add any newfound skills, certifications, and degrees to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Learn from your future peers. If you're not sure what new skills a higher-level position might demand of you, start sleuthing around now. LinkedIn's Advanced People Search, which lets you search by job title, can help here. Use it to find and study the bios of people in your industry who currently have a position similar to the one you're angling for, be it executive assistant or senior manager. (See more NWjobs tips on using LinkedIn's advanced search features.) Ask these future peers about the skills and characteristics you'll need in your hopeful new role, Canfield advises. Then busy yourself with filling those shoes.

Be your own PR agent. You know your colleagues and customers love you, but does your manager? "Now in Q1, start building up this great portfolio," Canfield says. Whether your work involves generating new customers or generating web pages, make sure you do a bang-up job and save any praise you receive from clients and colleagues. Forward these glowing emails to your manager as they arrive. And don't be shy about asking a customer, vendor, or colleague who compliments you on a job well done for a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Remember, the idea is to give your boss enough ammo so he can make the case for promoting you to his higher-ups. The sooner you start doing this, the better your chances of jumping to the next corporate rung.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide." E-mail Michelle at

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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