documenting success

How to Get that Promotion You’ve Been Dreaming About in 2023

Is a promotion in your plan for 2023? It can be. It should be! We need to catch up. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace study, only 86 women are promoted for every 100 men at the same level. The gender gap in technical roles is even more significant, with only 52 women promoted for every 100 men. Also, a 2020 Indeed study found that only 61.5% of women feel comfortable asking for a promotion, while 77.5% of men do. Don’t let these stats intimidate you. Instead, let them fuel you to make a change for yourself and other women. 

Of course, if you are a Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius, astrology says you are getting that promotion next year! But we suggest you take your fate into your own hands. Let’s create a plan to get that promotion. It’s time to stop waiting for the right time and start putting yourself first. It’s time to go out and get what you want. 

Step 1. Identify what you want

It’s critical that you are very clear about what your end goal is and what it should look like. Too often, we set ourselves up for failure by not being honest about what we want or not looking at the bigger picture. For example, it is easy to say you want a C-suite position because you would make more money or get to make crucial decisions. However, that kind of leadership position requires a ton of time managing teams and sitting in budget and board meetings. Is that how you want to spend your day? If so, great! If not, find another position where you will make the money you need but requires skills better suited to you. 

Research the pros and cons of the job you want. Make sure you know the deliverables you will be accountable for and the people you will be working with. Be crystal clear on the duties and responsibilities for the job you want, so there are no regrets when you get there.

Step 2. Know your worth

No one will be a better advocate for you than you. It doesn’t matter what your background, education, or experience is. It doesn’t matter who you know. What really matters is that you believe in your mind, heart, and gut that you can do the job. That will change more minds than anything else. 

That being said, you need to be able to articulate that belief in yourself in a way that is convincing and compelling. That comes from understanding your strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses. If you’re not sure how to do that, your current yearly reviews are a great place to start. Your manager has probably spent considerable time thinking about your strengths and weaknesses for these reviews and coming up with action items on how to improve. If you agree with the assessments, take them to heart and start working on communicating this information in your own way. The steps that follow will help you do that. 

Step 3. Document the good stuff

While looking at your yearly reviews, start a “brag file” with items that highlight your strengths. Your boss isn’t going to catch every accomplishment you earn. It’s up to you to do that. Aside from past good reviews, this file could include emails from superiors praising or thanking you for good work, shoutouts from team members, data that shows promising results on a project, thank you’s from colleagues or business partners, internal or external communications about project successes, or notes on daily wins and accomplishments. You could also use some of the tips we shared recently in a blog about asking for referrals when job searching. Just ask for a written recommendation instead. This “brag file” will come in handy as you start having conversations about your abilities to progress in your career. Read our recent blog on brag files for more tips and tricks.

Step 4. Create value

Another way to highlight your worth is to make your manager’s or team members’ lives easier. Identify tasks and duties to take off their plates. Try to contribute valuable input in every meeting and during every project. Look for ways to streamline processes to be more efficient. Take on stretch projects that contribute to the team and offer you more experience in an area where you are weak. Doing this shows that you are intentional, capable, and valuable to the organization. 

We need to bring up one caveat here. We, as women, tend to take on jobs that no one else wants to do just because they need to get done. Tasks like cleaning the breakroom, taking notes in meetings, or making coffee. That’s not what we are suggesting here. If no one in your company will acknowledge your work when you clean the office supply cabinet, don’t do it.

Step 5. Develop new skills

Career growth never stops. We all have weaknesses or gaps in experience. The important thing is that you know what those gaps are, and you do something to fill them. We’ve already mentioned taking on stretch projects to hone new skills. You could also ask to shadow a colleague or manager working on a project or a task you need to learn, take classes, find a mentor, or do additional research. Make sure to document your learnings and any certifications or results in your “brag file” and on your resume.

Step 6. Identify your transferable skills

Transferable skills are non-technical skills used in various roles or occupations. They are critical to your career growth. You can show you are a good leader if you demonstrate that you’ve mastered some of these skills. Some transferable skills to identify are:

  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Dependability
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability

Make a list of your transferable skills and show concrete examples of how you’ve mastered them. Include them on your resume and be ready to discuss them with your manager. Check out our recent blog for more information and ideas about leveraging your transferable skills.

Step 7. Get your manager involved

Getting a promotion will be much easier if your manager is on your side. If you have not had any conversations about your career ambitions, now is the time to do that. Good leaders will want their direct reports to move forward in their careers. 

Schedule a career planning conversation with your manager ASAP. Let them know exactly what you want. Review your summary of your strengths, accomplishments, and transferable skills. Be humble and admit you don’t know everything. Ask for help in overcoming your weaknesses. Ask what they think you need to do to achieve your goal. Make a development plan with your manager that is actionable and time-bound. Ask to connect with your leader regularly to review your progress. Don’t walk out of the meeting until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Step 8. Make a plan

If you’ve followed steps 1 through 7, this step should be easy. All along the way, you will have uncovered things to do to get the promotion. It could be taking a coding class or a stretch project. Maybe you want to find a mentor, or you’ve committed to attending leadership meetings with your manager. Record all of these things in one place and make a plan to get them all done. Make a list of the people you’ve enlisted to help you and the deadlines you’ve committed to. Don’t forget the smaller tasks like updating your resume or asking for referrals. 

It sometimes helps to think of this process as a project that includes timelines and deliverables. If you do that, you’ll stay on track and move forward. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be ready. 

If you’ve got your eyes and heart set on a promotion for 2023, gather your resources, your team, your guts, and your nerve, and go girl! This is your time, your moment. You know what to do. When you make an intentional plan of attack that shows your worth, you set yourself up for success.

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