Not everyone wants to be promoted. Some choose to skirt responsibility and authority so they can maintain an easy lifestyle. But for those with ambition, it's imperative to do things right in order to get the notice and recognition required to advance.

Rising up the ladder shouldn't be left to chance. People who simply do their thing are bound to be disappointed when promotion time comes. The people who are advancing are motivated, calculating, and intentional in their actions. Of course, it helps to know what to do and how to do it. Here is my suggested approach and more insights from my experienced Inc. colleagues.

1. Skate to where the puck is going.

A valued employee of mine once said, "I was never promoted to a job I wasn't already doing." She understood that the simplest way to deserve a promotion is to demonstrate that you have exactly what it takes to do that job better than it is currently being done. Study up on the position you want. Prepare to demonstrate you have thought through how having you in that position will advance the company in exponential ways. Make your promotion the obvious choice, not a hopeful one.

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2. Project success in every way.

The best way to earn a promotion is to excel in every possible way. Work hard, but work smart. Don't try to impress your boss with just your presence -- instead, impress your boss with your dedication to your job, your loyalty to the company, and an attitude that clearly broadcasts the fact that you are a force to be reckoned with. Let your boss know that you're ready for more responsibility and to move up the organization, and guess what? You will. --The Leadership Guy

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3. Flex your emotional intelligence muscles.

While a strong skill set is important in any job, it's no longer enough to make you stand out in the eyes of a good manager or leader. People who understand others and can harness their own emotions, as well as the anticipated emotions of customers and co-workers, are the truest asset to any company. Your gift of going beyond the mechanics in problem solving, planning, and product development will give you the edge, making you the strongest candidate for the job. To prepare yourself for the next big step, work on your self-awareness, as well as social awareness. Also, hone your communication skills, keeping in mind that a good communicator listens as well or better than she speaks. --The Successful Soloist

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4. Express yourself.

In my opinion, the surest way to move up in a company is to know how to express your self to authority. Speak up when you think you can offer a better way of doing things or a more efficient process. This doesn't mean be rude or disrespectful when doing so. It's important to understand the difference between complaining and being helpful.

If a process isn't working, don't be afraid to express your opinion with your boss as long as you have an alternative in mind. Be proactive and suggest a better way rather than pointing out flaws with no ideas for improvements. This approach shows you are interested and invested in improving the company and you view your position as more than just a "job". --Lean Forward

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5. Work for the job you want.

I think the key to moving up while working for someone else is to show that you're already doing the job you want. If you want to move into management, for example, demonstrate that you're already a leader. If you truly excel in a position that's in high demand, you'll get the promotion--whether it's with your current employer or another that hires you away. --Action Required

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