‘Be a self-marketer, not a self-promoter,’ says John Lees, author of Take Control Of Your Career. ‘Self-marketing focuses on the needs of the buyer rather than the qualities and features of the product, and is not about projecting an ego.’ What’s your employer’s biggest challenge? How can you help them overcome this?
Research by The Academy of Management in the USA found that inability to cope with change makes bosses unwilling to promote otherwise capable employees. ‘Whether it’s a revision to your hours, budget or team, don’t moan about how unhappy you are,’ says career expert Lisa Carden. ‘Actively seek ways of making the changes work for you instead.’
Master office politics
‘Relationships with others become more important as your career advances,’ says Carden. ‘Senior roles demand a higher level of political sensitivity, so show that you can navigate the minefield of office politics.’ Communicate openly and transparently and, if you must confront someone about a situation, go through formal channels.
Prepare for a ‘no’
Even if you’re denied a promotion, now is the best time to lay foundations for the future. ‘Ask when you can reapply: in three or six months, for example, or after a certain milestone has been achieved, such as landing a certain number of new clients,’ says Tory Johnson, founder of employment company Women For Hire. ‘Follow up with an email thanking your manager for their time and confirming the details you discussed.’
Photograph: Duncan Smith