A lot of people wonder if there is a secret to landing a promotion. It turns out there are actually three steps you can take to help ensure you get that promotion you've coveted.
The first step is to be good at your current job. While that might sound obvious, there are plenty of people who just do enough at work not to get fired. That makes you a C player, and it's not good enough to be promoted. (Here's some background on the difference between A, B and C players.) In fact, performing at the level of a B player isn't good enough to get promoted either. To earn that new job, you need to excel in your current role at an A player level.
The second thing you need to do is seek opportunities to execute above and beyond your current job. Not only do you have excel in your current role, you need to take on extra assignments, volunteer for new responsibilities, and yes, even ask your boss for more work. When you do this, you are signaling to your boss that you have the capacity to do more than you already are - that you aren't drowning in your job but ready to tackle even more.
As an old saying goes, "play the part; get the role." If you expand the scope of the work you're doing, someone will eventually recognize what you're capabilities are and they'll pay you for it.
Not everyone embraces this step - especially because you're not necessarily getting paid for all that extra work. They want the promotion first before they step up their production. But that's a shortsighted mistake. My view is that you will never be underpaid for long when you step up your game. Either you will get the promotion through merit - or you can take your talents to another organization willing to give you the opportunity to excel and the commensurate compensation.
The third and final secret to earning a promotion is to train someone to do your job. Many A players can find themselves falling into the trap where they perform so well and at such a high level that their boss decides that they can't promote you because you're too valuable to lose. That's why training someone else to take over for you is so essential to freeing you up to take on your new position. But it's not good enough to just pick anyone to fill your role: you need to find another A player who is capable of replicating your stellar level of performance. Not only will that make the decision to promote you easier, it will also enhance your reputation as someone capable of nurturing new talent in the organization.
But it's also worth noting that if you're worried about losing your job to your successor, you only need to train them on about 70% of what you do - and certainly not on anything that you're doing above and beyond your job description. That way you can mitigate the risk of someone usurping your position while also putting yourself in line to move up the ladder.
In summary, if you want to land your next promotion, keep these three secrets in mind:
1. Perform Like An A Player.
2. Take On Extra Work.
3. And Get Your Successor Ready To Go.
If you can nail all three of those steps, your next big promotion awaits you.