The following is an approximate transcript.
HEATHER: Hello and thank you for joining Episode 11 of Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko. My name is Heather Huhman, and I am the founder & president of Come Recommended, a career consultancy for young professionals, as well as the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Cachinko. I’m joined by my co-host, Tony Morrison.
TONY: Thank you, Heather. Good morning. My name is Tony Morrison and I am the vice president of Cachinko. We are an online social recruitment technology company that brings job search and career tools to job seekers, as well as recruitment marketing process efficiency tools to recruiters.
HEATHER: Today’s episode is “Moving Up the Career Ladder: How to Position Yourself for Future Success.” Let’s get started. Tony, what are some ways to ensure candidates–whether they’re currently employed or not–position themselves for future success?
TONY: The first step is planning. They must be able to answer the question, “How do I strategically differentiate myself from others in this field?” Whether the candidate is employed or not, focus and positioning are critical. If you are not employed, mass marketing yourself and broadcasting your resume to tens or hundreds of employers will not yield quality responses, and it doesn’t demonstrate effective planning and execution either. You cannot possibly mass market yourself to many companies and hiring managers and expect that you will have caught their attention.
Whether you are employed or not, it is important to focus on what you want and position yourself as the expert in that target role and at that company.
- Know the company
- Know the position
- Understand your current role as it relates to the company, industry, and the competition
- Be confident enough in your value to the company to train your successor
- Understand the positions of authority ahead of you and
- Have the desire to learn what you have to do to get you to that next position
HEATHER: What skills does an individual need to have to be considered for a promotion?
TONY: Of course, it depends on the position too, but at a high level everyone should be able to demonstrate above average proficiency in their field, apply key concepts to resolve issues, have keen learning skills, communicate well verbally and in writing, and interact with their managers as well as their peers.
Manager-level and above need also to be able to train effectively, be capable of enabling learning and development in their subordinates, and influence and motivate teams.
So individuals who aspire to move up the ladder, must also be able to teach others, think strategically, demonstrate planning skills, develop their own leadership style, and communicate-communicate-communicate.
HEATHER: What are the most common reasons why someone might not be considered for a promotion or title change?
TONY: There are many reasons why people are passed over for promotions or title changes at performance review time. The most common is the perception that they just are not that interested in advancing personally or professionally. Most business leaders these days have a straightforward talent management philosophy: “move them up or out.” Good leaders generally, reward attitude and aptitude in their employees. So, look for signs or reasons why you did not get that promotion.
You might not be offered a promotion if you are perceived to be a slacker. This means that you only do what is asked of you and require constant instruction. It is difficult to justify a promotion to someone who does not demonstrate initiative on the job. You might not be a candidate for promotion if you do not have visibility at the company, among project teams or managers including other departments, or in professional societies. Procurement and customer-focused individuals almost must be visible and establish a rapport with the company’s suppliers and customers. Also, people with difficult personalities generally do not get promoted.
Skilled and talented individuals that demonstrate job mastery may have a puzzling problem in that that they are so good at their job that they become invaluable and the company cannot afford to promote them. This is job mastery without a succession plan. You have to give up job security if you want that promotion. An individual must not only be good at their job, but also be able to communicate interpersonally and teach their successors to do the job as well or better than they can.
Other reasons could be that you simply portray the wrong image for the higher-level position, you are not the superstar performer and rockstar relator in your group, or that the company just isn’t in a financial position to promote you right now.
HEATHER: What should someone do if they feel they deserve a promotion but aren’t offered it?
TONY: First, don’t despair. There are so many possible reasons why a person does not receive a promotion or raise. Isolate the possible reasons. Think about yourself, the work you do, your team, your manager, and the company and industry in which you work. If you do not like where you are and what you do, then consider your options carefully. However, if you like where you are and what you do, then you have a lot of work to do.
The second thing you do is analyze your company, job, and your own performance. Here are a few questions you can ask about your own performance: Are you the type to work hard, take initiative, and offer suggestions? Are you willing to accept challenging projects above and beyond your normal work routine? Are you willing to put in a little extra effort to contribute to the success of the entire team? Do you understand your job well enough to teach it to others?
You can ask these questions about your work:
Is your work professional? Are you proficient and is the work completed on time or ahead of schedule?
Some questions you should ask about your relationships on the job:
How do you interact with your team, both interpersonally and professionally? What about your manager? Do you interact with any other teams? Have any others received promotions or accolades during the same period that would lead you to believe you personally were excluded from promotions? Do you interact with customers or suppliers? What are those relationships like?
Financial and economic questions you should consider include:
What is the financial health of the company? What is the state of the industry and economy overall?
After you have asked yourself these types of questions and honestly critiqued yourself, the third thing you do is identify all the areas in which you can improve yourself, the team, and the company’s performance. Focus on 1-3 objectives at a time and make the necessary changes to improve your situation.
Remember though, I am not suggesting that you do this exercise just so you can get that promotion or title change. By demonstrating that you can think critically and strategically, offer suggestions for improvement, take the initiative, selflessly make the additional effort, influence others to take action, and actually execute on a plan to improve the situation, you are in fact demonstrating highly sought after leadership skills that are deserving of a promotion.
HEATHER: Do you have any tips for job seekers to move up the career ladder?
TONY: Simply put. By demonstrating ATTITUTDE and APTITUDE, both socially and intellectually, you can pretty much ensure that you are not overlooked the next time performance reviews come around.
HEATHER: Thanks so much, Tony. That’s all the time we have for today. You’ve been listening to Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko. For details about the next episode, please visit blog.cachinko.com.