Want A Promotion At Work? Here Are A Few Ways

How to get a promotion at workWho doesn’t love getting a promotion at work?  If you are employed full-time, then you look forward to promotion time every year.  Getting a promotion shows that you are providing quality work for your employer and adding value to the company.  I have met people that expect to get promotions every year.  I am not talking about a raise, I am talking about a promotion.  Those people make me laugh a little.  If you expect to get a promotion, the only thing you should expect is to not get it.

Promotions are not a given at any place of work.  You have to work hard and make yourself known in the eyes of management.  If you are one of those people that just go into work and do what you are told, I wouldn’t expect a promotion.  That type of person is just not promotion material.  Why?  If you don’t think outside of the box or go above and beyond, then promotions aren’t for you.  Sorry to be real, but it is true.

Getting a promotion feels good and it should.  You are being told that you are worthy of holding a higher position and doing something more.  That is a great feeling to have.  Everyone wants to be shown that they are doing good things at work.  If you want to have that good feeling and to score a sweet promotion at work, then here are some ways to do it.

Think Outside of The Box

One thing I have learned while working is that you will be justly rewarded for thinking outside of the box.  You might be taught one way of doing something, but that doesn’t always mean that is the best or most efficient way.  If you can take a process and make it better, then people will notice.  You especially want to make sure that your manager and upper management know.  Thinking outside of the box can be very powerful.

Example: You are working in HR and you realize that your payroll software is outdated and not working with the growth of the company.  Instead of just continuing to use it, you look for better alternatives that are not only cheaper, but also handle the growth.  This is how you think outside of the box.

Become the Go-To

Before I jump into how to become the go-to, I will say that you have to be careful with this tip.  It can backfire and I will describe how soon.

You know what the go-to means.  You become the one that people come to in order to get something done.  It is a good place to be in and management usually takes notice.  If you are constantly being hit up from other employees, then that is a good thing.  In order to become the go-to, you have to have an expertise in something.  You have to understand a topic better than anyone else.  You also have to be willing to take on extra work.

The way that this can backfire is if you just become someone that always says “yes”.  This is when it could be dangerous.  You don’t want to always say yes to everyone that approaches you.  If that happens, then others will take advantage of you.  I can guarantee that.  You still need to have a good work/life balance.  One way that works well for me is to not always say yes.  You need to set this precedent in the beginning.  One thing that I do, is to tell someone that I can’t do it or I don’t have enough time.  While they are looking for help from someone else, I will go and complete the task.  This always makes someone happy and it doesn’t pigeon hole me into a “yes man”.

Expand Your Skill Set

This tip can be used for anything at work along with working toward a promotion.  You are hired for your current skill set.  Employers like what they see when they offer you a position.  That doesn’t mean you should just leave your skill set at its current state.  Expanding your knowledge is important in life just as it is at work.  If you work on learning something new, you become available to help other departments.  This is always a great thing to see from a management perspective.  Your employer can then get assistance from you when other departments are swamped.  They don’t have to hire another person just to pick up slack.  It is even better if you can accomplish both roles.

In order to expand your skill set, you need to understand what is needed at your employer.  What are other employees struggling with?  Where are areas where you can help another department?  This tip will require some upfront work, but it usually pays off well with a promotion.

There is never a guarantee that you will get a promotion at work.  In order to pull the odds in your favor, you need to work hard differentiating yourself from other employees.  You can’t be just another drone worker.  You have to show others that you are doing things on your own and working harder than others.  There are people that just don’t strive for much when they work.  They just collect their paycheck and go home.  You won’t get a promotion this way.  It just doesn’t happen.  Think outside of the box, become the go-to person, and expand your skills set.  This is how you get a promotion at work.

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. October 14, 2013 at 7:22 am — Reply

    Expanding my skill set is definitely something that I’ve been working at over the past two years. I’ve figured out what skills are needed and I’m working hard to either gain those skills or refine them if I already have them. Definitely a great post for anyone looking to move up!

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm — Reply

      I am in the same boat DC. I am always looking for ways to expand my skillset.

  2. October 14, 2013 at 7:22 am — Reply

    Good post Grayson. I think becoming the go-to person can be a great way to get a promotion at work. Of course, I think that may also come about through learning new skills and stretching yourself beyond your current skill set. It’s not always perfect, but I do think that it’ll generally get you noticed.

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm — Reply

      I have done pretty well with becoming the go-to guy. It works well when others know you are the one, especially when things don’t work when you are away!

  3. October 14, 2013 at 8:37 am — Reply

    Grayson, Rick, after practicing all of the above tips, just got a nice promotion at work. By and large I think, if you work smarter, and make life better for your boss and those around you, the promotion will come, provided you ask for it. Great tips!

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm — Reply

      Glad to hear it Laurie. Give him a congratulations for me.

  4. October 14, 2013 at 10:38 am — Reply

    It makes you wonder about jobs where you get an automatic step raise every year as long as you don’t burn the place down. Why would anyone try to go above and beyond? I think that’s why lots of teachers burn out. You work your butt off for years with no reward, and it just wears you down.

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm — Reply

      Yeah, that just reminds me of the same thing where all children get trophies if they just participate. It doesn’t teach anyone anything.

  5. October 14, 2013 at 11:43 am — Reply

    I think the key to all of these ideas is finding ways to improve yourself and your contribution, not blaming your company or others for where you are. Good post!

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm — Reply

      That is a great point. You can’t spread the blame around, just look in the mirror.

  6. October 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    It interests me how often my coworkers compare their promotion track to other employees with our company. Because we all work on different accounts one person might be promoted yearly while another can take much longer. It puts a lot of pressure on yourself to anticipated getting promoted at the same time (or before) another coworker.

    Your “go to person” tip is a great point. My manager has mentioned something similar to me before because I’m one of the only people in our office who has an interest in money. I’ve started to be to the go to person for brainstorming new business pitches for financial accounts!

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm — Reply

      You should never compare yourself to others. It is a bad unit of measure. While you can use others to give you some motivation, you should base your promotion schedule off of them.

  7. October 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Great advice Grayson. As with anything in life, if you want to get ahead you have to provide value above and beyond what could be found elsewhere. If you aren’t differentiating yourself in some way, what’s to say you couldn’t easily be replaced? And forget about the “right” to being moved ahead. It takes work and some creativity if you want to advance.

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm — Reply

      Spot on assessment there my friend. There is no right to move ahead. You will never succeed that way.

  8. October 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    People actually assume they will get a promotion every year? Hmmm…those are the people who are probably least likely to earn one. A few managers may love having “yes man” underlings but those are the managers who aren’t going anywhere and are unlikely to help you in your quest to be promoted. Being a go-to person definitely makes you stand out but like you said – it’s important to set boundaries. Otherwise you will get taken advantage of. It’s also important to gracefully make sure your boss knows that you are the person everyone relies on so others don’t take credit for your work and get your promotion.

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm — Reply

      There are people that do that. I have met quite a few of them. I usually chuckle when those people assume they will get a raise or promotion.

      You want to always make sure that people don’t take your credit. I learned that the hard way and now whenever I do something, I make sure to make it known.

  9. October 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm — Reply

    Expanding a skill set is a great idea, and I would also add coming up with ideas and ways to make work go more smoothly and easily for your boss. If you’re seen as a problem solver, they will want to keep you. 🙂

    • October 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm — Reply

      coming up with new ideas is a really great way to get ahead. Companies like those that innovate and keep striving for better things. Don’t stagnate.

  10. October 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm — Reply

    Smart tips! Expanding your skill set is a big one, in my experience – it’s my go-to tactic at work to make myself more valuable. Combining learning new skills to put to work with the “let me be your go-to” attitude has resulted in raises for me at work, plus the added benefit of job security. I’ve made myself a huge asset to the company I work for, because I’ve taken on so much responsibility, I wear a lot of different hats, and they know I can be counted on to get something done quickly and correctly. Knowing they count on me is lets me rest just a little bit easier knowing that I am highly unlikely to lose my position.

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm — Reply

      Glad to hear that you are using these techniques. They can be used by anyone, but you have to want to better yourself. You can never expect others to help you. If you want it, you have to get it.

  11. October 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    Great tips man. I especially agree with the thinking outside the box (and not just because it’s similar to my blog’s name). If you can become that person that comes up with solutions to problems that your company or boss don’t even know exist, you make yourself incredibly valuable.

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm — Reply

      You are certainly correct Joel. You need to work hard to become valuable and stay that way.

  12. October 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm — Reply

    Great post Grayson! You’re very right in that you need to be seen by management as an asset to the organisation. I’ve recently received a pay rise in my new job and have been pushing even harder for a promotion. It may also be worth noting that the organisation may not have space for you to be promoted: is there someone to take your place? What needs to change to make space for you to be promoted?

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm — Reply

      Great point Joe. There might now be an opportunity to be promoted when you want to be. You need to be patient, but continue to strive for more. Also, make sure that you have a position that allows for growth. You can’t continue to stay in a position that doesn’t allow for career growth.

  13. October 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm — Reply

    Make sure people other than your boss knows the good work you’re doing. Getting onto high profile projects the benefit the company is key.

  14. October 15, 2013 at 7:13 am — Reply

    Developing a new skill that you can offer at work can really help in getting yourself a promotion. Great tips Grayson!

  15. October 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm — Reply

    Great post! Also, something to keep in mind with promotion is if a job has space for promotion. In my field, (non profit fundraising) there can often only be 5 people in a department max so unless a person leaves, you’ll be stuck in your job. If you’re in a place like that, learning the skills of your coworkers while sticking it out for 2 years or so can enable you to get a promotion at the place you next apply to work at.

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm — Reply

      That is a great tip Tara. While you might not be able to be promoted soon, it is always a good idea to work on bettering yourself. It will never hurt you to learn new skills.

  16. October 17, 2013 at 10:55 am — Reply

    Good tips. When I received a promotion at work it was because I always went out of my way. Whenever a problem came up, I would volunteer to tackle it. It didn’t matter that I had no clue about the subject. I would learn the subject and work to fix the problem.

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm — Reply

      That is exactly how you do it. You work harder and smarter. You strive to solve problems and volunteer to tackle things others won’t do. Great work Jon.

  17. October 31, 2013 at 4:15 am — Reply

    Nice tips, I have been working for more than 2 years in a company and I have become expert in my work. I usually complete my work before anyone else does, and my manager starts giving me new tasks again and again. I have shown them that I am a hard worker, but still they haven’t promoted me. I think that I might consider switching to another company because I don’t see any growth here. This is one of the main reasons why people don’t work that hard because they don’t get what they deserve in a lot of cases.

    • October 31, 2013 at 11:25 am — Reply

      Hello Hunain,

      Thank you for passing along your experience. I am sorry to hear that you are being under appreciated in your position. It sounds like the company you work for just likes to exploit workers for their talents and leave them where they are. That is not a company I would work for. Go see if you can find a company that will respect your abilities and reward them justly.

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