Promotion

Want To Get Promoted At Work? 7 Factors Impacting Your Chances

iStockphoto.com (  tommasourbinati )

iStockphoto.com ( tommasourbinati )

 

When managers choose who to promote into an open position, it isn't always cut and dry – in fact, the decision can get quite complex and involves a great deal more than how hard you worked over the past year. Here are seven considerations leaders tangle with when deciding who'd be the best candidate to take over the bigger office.

  1. History of job performance and leadership. Promoting an employee can be a risky for the organization, and for the hiring manager who stakes his or her reputation on your success. A strong track record of previous promotions, solid-to-excellent end of year appraisals, and consistently outstanding performance metrics will eliminate doubts that you intend to work hard to learn and succeed in your the newly elevated responsibilities.
     
  2. Mastery of the essential skills. This can include extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of the people you'd be managing. But not always. This can also refer to the intangibles - leadership skills, business acumen, financial knowledge, personal accountability, likeability, and the such. Keep in mind, it would be impossible at large organizations for CEOs to haven't performed each function under their purview before getting the top job – what matters is their ability to set strategy and to motivate, lead, and derive performance from the organization. Remember to work on developing your soft skills in additional to your technical skills.
     
  3. Perception of readiness. It's important to convey a compelling vision of your success in the new role. If the organization doesn't think you're ready to take on more responsibility, they will most certainly not promote you. Scheduling conversations with your manager to determine what skills you need to get to the next level can help, as can building a development plan and having regular career "check-ins" to discuss your progress.
     
  4. Ambition. This goes beyond working harder and longer, which is generally a good idea for aspiring leaders. Make abundantly clear to your manager that you want to be promoted, and that you wish to be considered for more challenging roles. Many individuals get a promotion because they explicitly ask for the job. Managers may overlook the employee who doesn't explicitly ask for a promotion out of concern that they wouldn't want the extra responsibility and related baggage.
     
  5. Timing and Urgency. If a position is open, it's a critical function, and the organization will experience a great deal of pain if nobody is in the role, the executive team is going to work quickly to plug the hole. If you have the right skills at the moment they need them, you could be the solution to their problem.
     
  6. Internal politics. Your boss may love you and think you'd be ideal for the job, but there are often other factors at play. Perhaps there are other, more senior members of the team who would bristle at having you as their manager. Maybe his boss doesn't like you, or would rather hire the son of his golfing buddy.
     
  7. How similar promotions have been handled in the past. Past trends can be strong predictors. What if the last four people to be promoted had six years of experience, but you only have three years of tenure? Or, everyone else who has held the role was a finance major ( you studied music)? While it's not impossible to change perceptions such as these, it can be a challenge.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

Do I Really Need An MBA?

iStockphoto.com/ wildpixel

iStockphoto.com/wildpixel

 

You're interested in giving your career a boost and accelerating your climb up the corporate ladder. Is it time to go back to school and get an MBA?

An advanced degree is a very expensive proposition. Annual tuition at a major program can easily top $50,000 per year. And if you decide to go back to school full time, this means that you'll also need to factor in substantial additional expenses for housing and living expenses.

Factor all this together, and you're looking at easily spending more than $200,000 over two years (take a look at the estimated costs for one year of tuition, housing, and living expenses for business school Harvard University; these are the university's own unvarnished projections); you could buy a house for that money. And don't forget about the income you lose by putting your career on hiatus.

It's quite true that if you complete an MBA from a top-tier school it's quite possible you'll see a substantial bump in pay from what you were earning before. And you don't necessarily need to quit your job to go full-time (depending upon the program). But that doesn't make the degree any less expensive or time consuming.

GETTING AN MBA MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA IF YOU...

  • Didn't get a bachelor's degree in a business discipline. Many career disciplines require a strong foundation in business education. A non-business bachelor's degree (in disciplines such as liberal arts, science, or communications) won't necessarily offer the classes in marketing, accounting, finance, and operations which provide a helpful business orientation and skill set.
     
  • Want to change career path. A degree in a new discipline can be a fantastic way to reinvent yourself, since you'll be armed with a new knowledge set. And it's a great pivot point since you have demonstrated an interest in taking your career in a new direction through your studies. I've seen nurses, journalists, technologists, and other non-business professionals reinvent themselves as marketers, investment bankers, and financial analysts.
     
  • Need a career boost. Maybe you hit a ceiling in your career. The act of getting (or even pursuing) an MBA may convince your employer that you take your career progression seriously, which could potentially open new doors. Also, the knowledge you gain through your education may increase your value and skills in your current role, pushing you onto more of a promotion track. And some companies use the MBA as a minimum requirement for entry to the executive suite.
     
  • The jobs you want require it. Many employers equate MBA graduates from highly ranked program to high potential hires. If you want to get into a leadership rotation program with a brand-name employer, for example, the MBA might be a fundamental requirement. Likewise, I used to recruit for a consumer products company, and for their Brand Manager roles, and they considered the MBA in Marketing as essential, unless the candidate had more than five years' success in a prior brand management role with another leading consumer products company.
     
  • Have an employer who offers to pay for your degree. Tuition reimbursement is a fantastic employment benefit. An employer who is willing to invest in your continuing education is making a commitment to your ongoing development with the hope that you will continue to add value. You should note, however, that before paying for your tuition, the employer will likely make you sign an agreement allowing them to claw back a portion or entire amount in case you leave before a certain time (usually 1 or 2 years), to discourage you from quitting immediately after getting your diploma.
     
  • Want the knowledge an MBA provides. Academic study can be intellectually rewarding, opening up new ways of thinking as well as providing you with additional skills and knowledge. You may find classroom discussions and group projects incredibly stimulating and fulfilling.


PURSUING AN MBA MIGHT NOT BE IMPORTANT IF YOU...

  • Have a bachelor's degree in a similar business discipline. Make no mistake, the bachelor's and MBA are not identical – the emphasis in the MBA tends to be more of a survey format, with a focus on strategic thinking and real-world application since the majority of MBA students have prior professional work experience – but there is similarity throughout quite a bit of the curriculum. And you may already have the academic foundation you need in your career.
     
  • Are on a strong career trajectory. If you've been rapidly promoted several times, and have been told that you'll soon be in the executive ranks, it's quite clear that you're moving in the right direction. Which would move your career further, more quickly? Quitting your job to pursue two years of study, or continuing your high performance at your current company.
     
  • Can't justify the return on investment. As mentioned above, an MBA is expensive. Maybe it's realistic to anticipate a $50,000 jump in annual salary after finishing the degree. Maybe not. Don't just look at the "Average Graduate Salary" data the school provides as your benchmark, since the student population spans a variety of fields and levels of experience. Do your homework. $200K is a lot of money.
     
  • Don't need it. In many cases, there's no substitute for real-world experience and elbow grease. In a 2014 study of CEOs, out of the top-performing 100, only 29 of them had MBA degrees. To look at this another way, 71% of these 100 CEOs did not have an MBA – in other words, there's no direct correlation between having the MBA and getting the corner office. And consider whether the MBA is relevant to advancement in your line of work; in some fields, a technical degree might provide more value.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Accepting That Promotion

Our culture values ambition. History is rife with stories of leaders who have climbed the corporate ladder to attain executive leadership positions – and the public reverence and accolades that come with it.

Don't believe that we place our business leaders on a pedestal? CEOs' photos fill the newspapers' society pages, books crammed with their philosophies dot the New York Times' Nonfiction Bestseller List, and a prominent business owner tops a major party ticket in the U.S. Presidential election.

And why not? Business schools consistently drill into students' minds the value of upward mobility. Individuals who are elevated to increasingly responsible positions often demonstrate initiative, intelligence, and interpersonal acumen – all traits we value. And by combining these to get promoted, we improve our social standing, influence, and personal wealth. We get more power, and we get paid more money to wield it.

Climbing up the management ranks has its perks, but it also has its drawbacks. If you're currently an individual contributor (i.e., you don't manage anybody), consider the following about life as a manager before accepting that promotion to Department Supervisor:

  • Managers usually get paid more than non-managers. You will likely be rewarded for moving up the chain, as you are being compensated for taking on more responsibility and the additional value you are expected to provide.
  • Risk increases the higher you climb. Your paycheck grew when you took that promotion, but some of that money is hazard pay. Expectations on your ability to deliver increased with your title. In addition, there will be people who will be gunning for your job, who believe they deserve the position.
  • Managers are responsible for the results their department produces. In other words, your team may or may not meet its goals, but as manager you own the end result regardless of how hard you worked or how well you believe you directed your team or set strategic vision.
  • Supervisors are expected to lead their teams – and others. There's a great deal more to managing employees than giving directions and expecting the team to follow them. People are sentient beings with their own desires, perceptions, and ideas. Just because you ask them to perform a task doesn't mean that they necessarily will do it the way you want – or do it at all. A good manager can motivate, inspire, educate, mentor, influence, persuade, and cajole, modulating their message to their employee to maximize results. And he or she can also be a taskmaster when the situation calls for it.
  • Delegation is essential. If you're a detail oriented micro-manager, where you need to be in control of absolutely every detail and you have a hard time trusting others to get things done, managing others will keep you awake at night; you will worry whether your employees will complete their assigned tasks to the standards you expect and you'll be popping Rolaids like candy.
  •  Management is a different job. Let's say you started your career as an engineer, and you've been tapped to lead the department as Manager. You're going to find yourself doing a heck of a lot less engineering, and many more managerial functions: budgeting, resource planning, scheduling, hiring and firing, conducting performance appraisals and talent reviews, putting out fires, attending status meetings, strategic planning, fighting for resources, reporting, and so on...

Before accepting that managerial promotion, it might be wise to ask yourself the following:

  1. What is my tolerance for the additional demands this promotion will place on me? Am I prepared to play the political game? How about the extra stress and responsibility? Can I handle the extra risk? If you welcome the uncertainty and the challenge, it's probably a no-brainer.
  2. How well can I manage other people? If you've never supervised anybody before, this can be difficult to answer. But try to be aware of how people have responded to you when you've worked with them on projects or delegated assignments to others. Likewise, try to be aware of whether you can handle having other people do tasks instead of doing everything yourself.
  3. What would I enjoy more? The job I was hired to do, or the managerial responsibilities the promotion entails? If you're ready for some new and different challenges, management may be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you bristle at the idea of giving up a career as an Account Executive to manage sales people, then you may be better off staying in your current position.

Bottom Line: As you progress higher up in an organization, you will need to leverage different skills and competencies than the ones you utilized when starting your career. Before accepting the promotion into a managerial role, carefully evaluate the position, what will be expected of you, and the value you will bring to the organization, and ensure that your skills - and desires - are aligned with the new position.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.