Career Woman

How to make yourself more promotable


What are you known for at work?  How do people perceive the role you play and the potential you bring?  The simple reality is to be promoted you need to be noticed, for the right reasons. Being more promotable takes building a reputation that earns you trust and respect from your peers, manager and the senior leaders of your business.

Choose to commit to becoming the best possible version of yourself and perceptions of you are likely to shift.  When we invest in developing our character, shifting our mindsets, mastering our emotions, adapting our behaviours and building our capabilities, we unlock the true extent of our potential, and typically other people take notice.

While easily said, there is no doubt developing who you are, how you operate and ultimately your professional brand can be a challenging journey to embark on.  For most people overcoming fears, limiting beliefs and emotional triggers can be particularly confronting.  Look for a mentor who can support you to take the steps you need to.

Know what you want and why.

Simply wanting to move forward in your career and earn more money isn’t enough to get you promoted.  Knowing what next steps you want to take is essential.  Do you want to deepen your experience, hone your skills, take on more responsibility or perhaps step into a leadership role?

If leadership is the next step for you stop and reflect carefully on that decision and why you hold that aspiration.  A common mistake people make is applying for leadership roles because it’s the logical next step on the hierarchical ladder of their profession. Make sure you are sincerely motivated to lead and get the best out of other people.   Don’t set yourself up to fail by going after a promotion that will see you in a role you neither enjoy nor thrive in.

Have the courage to stand in your spotlight and put your hand up for opportunity

All too often I meet people who hold career aspirations their employer knows little to nothing about.  Sitting quietly on the side-lines hoping someone will give you the opportunity you want is a hit and miss strategy at best.  Have courageous conversations with your manager, HR or other leaders in your organisation who are in a position to help you get ahead.

Be careful not to prematurely disqualify yourself from being eligible for a role you’d love to do, because you fear not having all the experience or skills needed.  Speak to the people on the selection panel about your desire to do the job and be open to honest insight to why you may or may not be ready to take the step at this time.  While you may not get the job this time around, at least now the right people know what your career goal is.

Demonstrate strength of character

Technical knowledge, skills and experience undoubtedly matter to your chances of being promoted.  Typically more important however is the strength of your character.  That is the extent to which you demonstrate character traits your organisation values.    While every organisation is unique successful leaders are usually looking for integrity, personal accountability and courage in the people they ask to step up in their career.

Tap into the insights of people you trust about how your attitudes, capabilities and behaviours are perceived.  In other words understand what your current professional brand is and what you can do differently to lift confidence in your ability to take on more.

If you want to be promoted invest energy in what you are doing now.  Show case your ability to be focused, disciplined and committed to achieving the highest standard outcomes.  If you’re tired and over your job, be careful not allow your disengagement with where you are at now, hold you back from getting to where you want to be.

About Karen Gately

Karen Gately, founder of Corporate Dojo, is a leadership and people-management specialist. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit or contact

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