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Paul Copcutt has been described by Forbes magazine as a leading personal brand expert globally, and by clients as their “Rebel Guide". He inspires and helps professionals, executives and entrepreneurs to be innovative and personal with their brands to stand out, advance their careers and grow their business. Visit his blog www.paulcopcutt.com for over 500 free articles on personal branding or see where he is speaking next so you can check out his custom Converse Chuck Taylors.


30 years ago you were told to expect to work for one employer for life,
20 years ago you were told to plan for extra leisure time because of automation, 10 years ago one quarter of the new jobs being created had never existed previously.

Now graduates are told to expect to be back at school every decade to retrain.

NEWSFLASH: The world of work is changing. Forever. Always.

We have been hearing human resource, organizational development and career guru’s telling us that for years. Gone are the days when ‘Personnel’ came and tapped you on the shoulder and told you about your next career move.

“You can no longer rely on anyone for your career, except YOU”
Paul Copcutt

Once you make it to the next promotion, there are on-boarding programs, online courses and books, like “The First 90 Days” to help.

But what about before all that happens? Where is the help that you need to gain that next promotion? Tenure and years of experience are no longer the key determining factors. Now it is how you are perceived, who you know and the influence that YOU

have. You have to help yourself because….. The help? That’s down to you.

“It’s up to you to own the definition of who you are”
Paul Copcutt

Career management needs to be a proactive process. You need a plan with concrete steps and actions that you can implement over time that will increase your chances of being in the right place, at the right time and, ideally land you the next role before the position is posted or advertised.

10 Surefire Promotion Strategies
1. Play the part

“That’s not my job” are four words that will almost ensure the next promotion is not going to be yours. You have to be thinking beyond your job description. Doing the minimum is not going to cut it. It is not a case of arriving early and leaving late. Rather, it’s about working smarter and much more effectively so that what you do has impact, ripples through the organization and gets noticed.

When your boss has a new project, ask to be involved and, volunteer for additional responsibilities. Make sure you attend company events and functions and also ensure that you dress the part.

2. Room to grow
Hopefully you did some of your research before you even joined your current organization or department and you know that there is room to grow. But if not;
Does the corporate culture support your style?
Does your manager have the necessary leadership skills to develop you?
Do you have team members who will lift you up versus stab you in the back?
If not then the time and effort it will take to gain that next promotion may be wasted or at the very least be incredibly frustrating. You may need to start to look for other areas in the company where there is a better fit, or even consider a job move.

3. Opinions matter
Contrary to what you may read, managers do not want ‘YES’ people in their teams. They do not want stubborn or arrogant people either. Be prepared to challenge in a positive way, come up with viable solutions or at least to have a logical discussion around a direction or decision that you do not agree with. Your opinions will matter. Next time your boss might come to you first to see what you think.

4. Mentor both ways
Common advice for those looking to manage their careers is to find a mentor. Question: Are you currently mentoring someone in your organization? Be sure to be walking the talk first.

Nike has a culture of reciprocal mentoring throughout their organization. At Nike if you are looking at a career move and want to apply for a promotion, your boss will first ask the question;

“Who is your replacement?”

There is an expectation that you have been talking to others about your role to gauge their interest and mentor t, mentoring and grooming your successor. This works both ways as others in the company come to you to talk about their roles and gauge your interest. It is not uncommon within Nike to be considering 2-3 new positions at any one time.

5. Career Karma
Take an interest and champion the success of others. See how and where you can support others with their own career management and progression. This can go beyond mentoring. You could be recommending them for new roles or bringing them on to a project you are leading to give them the extra experience and exposure they need. It’s good leadership – and career karma.

6. Training and development
Nothing at work is remaining the same for long. Look at where you want to be heading and what new skills or knowledge you might need to help you get there. See if the company will pay for this or whether you need to be looking at funding this investment yourself.

7. Influence
Learning new skills is great but not at the expense of your influence. The old saying “Jack of all trades and master of none” often means you are competent with many skills, but spend so much time learning each new skill that you cannot become an expert in any particular one. Then your personal brand becomes known as the ‘master of none’ and your influence is weakened. You may be taken seriously.

In his book “Never Eat Alone”, Keith Ferrazzi talks about how to become recognised for a particular expertise, and a company champion. Choose an area where you see potential for recognition, and enjoy doing and become the ‘go to’ expert.

8. Out of Sight
Most people don’t like a ‘bragger’. However you should ‘toot your own horn’ so people in the company know the impact you are having.

This is especially important in larger organizations where the decisions around the next promotions are often by others in a different office, country or even continent. Which leads on to networking.

Firstly, if we assume you plan to stay with your current organization, you need to identify who are those people making the decisions about your future. Your manager and their bosses for sure. But who else in the organization needs to know about you? Make a plan to get noticed by them.

Secondly networking outside the organization is also key. Career management experts will often say

Your next job search starts when you start a new job

Do not just fire up the virtual rolodex when you need it. Instead, plan a system to keep in touch with your network. Build relationships and new connections. Make introductions. Share resources and information. Add value. Then when you ask for help it’s going to be repaid – career karma again.

“Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken”
Oscar Wilde

10. Being Yourself
This is about having a clear understanding of your personal brand, who and what you stand for, your career goals and an actionable plan.
Incorporate these 10 strategies in to that plan and look forward to that next promotion.

Have a brandtastic week!


P.S. Need more help to gain that next promotion? - lets chat - call or email me.