How to Get a Promotion - Part 1

So, you’ve started as an administrative assistant and you want to get promoted.  As I’ve told my students, the administrative position is often a great starting point to working your way up the ladder.  It gives you the opportunity to show off your skills and to show that you have a great work ethic.  But that doesn’t mean that it is easy!

Getting your first promotion requires hard work and a great attitude and it also requires patience.  I’ve seen it happen several times – an employee works hard, smiles all the time, does whatever she is asked and doesn’t get the first promotion they aim for.  Then they go storming into the boss’s office spouting off all the things they have done for the company and demanding to know why they didn’t get the promotion.  Patience – without it you’re going nowhere fast.  In all most every instance the employee was laid off in the next 6 months or left of their own will.

Here are some other ways to increase your chances of getting a promotion:

  • Take charge of your time.  Don’t make excuses for not getting things done – just get them done.  And get them done when you say you will.  Be conservative about giving people times for completion of projects – realize that sometimes you will have interruptions and things will take longer than you expect.  It’s better to have something done before you say it will than to have to call them in the middle of the afternoon and beg for an extension.  Track your time using something like Chrometa and watch for where time is being used inefficiently.
  • Network with other employees.  Your job is a great place to network – you don’t have to be at a seminar or workshop to network.  Talk to other staff about their projects.  Find ways to work together.  Offer your expertise.  Share information that will help others do their jobs better.  Don’t keep it all to yourself.
  • Use email as a tool.  Email isn’t just about communication.  It’s about displaying your skills, your work ethic, and your knowledge.  When you write an email keep sentence structure, spelling, and grammar in mind – even when it is just a brief email that you don’t consider important.  Every email you write tells the person you are sending it to something about you.  And always, always, read over the email you are responding to first (I one person I worked with in the past that constantly replied to my emails without actually reading the email I’d sent them and as a result I would have to send another email asking my questions again) and always, always proofread your emails to make sure that you are saying what you actually mean to say!

Watch for part two of How to Get a Promotion!