Seize the Internal Promotion

If you work at a smaller organization, your next promotion doesn’t entirely depend on your performance.  At a small organization, you may have to wait for a vacancy to arise – or create your own position from nothing. 

There’s one thing you can be sure of though, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

When you hear the whisperings you’ve been waiting for, and the person one step above you in the chain of command is about to move on to their next opportunity, how do you approach the situation? 

There’s a lot to think about.  Has that person announced it yet?  Who else will be applying?  How are you going to pitch yourself as their successor?

Don’t rely on others to recognize you.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get!  To ensure you are in prime position, think about the following five angles.

Who is hiring for the role?

The difficulty with applying for promotion is that there has always been a tier of seniority between you and your potential new boss.  This means that your access to them was limited, but now you’re asking this person to take a big chance on you. 

Find out about the person hiring, what do their employees think of them?  What qualities do they value most in their team?  Answering these questions will give you the framework to prepare your pitch.

Who will recommend you?

Whether or not you know the individual hiring for the position, asking for recommendations is essential.  If the staffer hiring is senior in your department it is likely they will already be aware of your work. However, it never hurts to remind them through people they trust. 

If you are applying for a different department, the manager will be far more likely to choose you over employees he knows well if he has heard recommendations for you from respected colleagues.

What’s your case?

Just like with any job application you should have a clear understanding of the role you will be performing and why your previous accomplishments make you a prime candidate. 

Study the job description carefully and prepare a formal written application for the job.

Request a formal meeting.

This is your opportunity to sit down with the hiring manager and discuss the role seriously.  This is not your chance to ask for any special favors, but to sit down and seriously explain that you would like to be considered for the role and to hand over your formal application.

Remember that just because you work at the organization you are not entitled to the role.  You should be prepared to interview at a later date.

What’s your pitch?

If you are invited to interview for the position following your formal application, remember to treat it as you would any other interview.  Your advantage however is your in-depth understanding of the organization and all of the respected colleagues who can vouch for you.

Be confident in what you’ve achieved, what you plan to achieve, and you can score that well-earned promotion!