Promotion is a common goal we all work hard for. It gives us something to aim for during the long, hardworking, underpaid day at the office. But while some people do step up the corporate ladder, others seem to cling on to the lower rungs. Not understanding the reasons why some people don’t make vertical may give rise to feelings of envy towards their colleagues or bitter feelings against a boss who might be seen as myopic or ungrateful.

It takes a little bit of proactivity and open-mindedness to get out of stagnant waters – especially if you’re one of the people whose promotions are taking too long in coming. The important thing to remember is that promotions don’t just happen to you. It’s not a gift that falls out of the sky. Promotions (or variations of such, like getting a raise) are given to the winner who runs the race, and who makes every effort to stretch his arm out to get the prize.

There are a few practical things you can do to get yourself promoted. Put them to practice and watch yourself get one over the competition:

1. Be honest with yourself. Evaluate yourself carefully if you have what it takes to get promoted. Like everything else in life, big breaks can be had when the basic elements are in place: performing consistently well and having a clean reputation are a given in every successful career. If you haven’t moved on in awhile, you need to ask yourself whether it’s due to factors beyond your control, or if it’s your fault.

2. Get a mentor in the higher-up. A recent study found that four out of five promotions involved a mentoring relationship with a person in high position who endorsed the worker in question. It helps to build relationships with people who can give you more information and guidance in your career, as well those who are able to pass on to the boss a good word or two about your progress.

3. Get more skills. Specialization is a good thing, but the impact of technology, globalization, and flatter organizational structures is changing what it means to be “marketable” in the industry. Focusing on skills that are just related to your present job will most likely just get you to stay in that job. But if you have your eyes set on jobs of higher responsibility, you need to assess and learn for yourself what additional skills and knowledge that job requires.

4. Sell yourself. Advertising your achievements is sometimes mistaken by others as “sucking up to the boss.” This is not true. It’s a sad fact that no matter how hard working or brilliant you may be in your little corner, you’ll get absolutely nowhere if nobody is aware of the good you’re doing in the organization. Be visible. Carbon copy your accomplishment reports not just to your immediate superior, but also to your boss’s superior, whenever appropriate. Volunteer to spearhead activities in your organization such as leading seminars and the like.

5. Be a problem solver. Employers like to feel that they have nothing to worry about when a particular job is in the hands of a dependable person. If you are able to handle responsibilities and contingencies smoothly without having to pull the boss out of his golf game or mid-morning meeting, then you’re halfway there.

6. Network like crazy. Silent people are easily forgotten. Don’t let obscurity steal your chance at getting further up the corporate ladder. Make friends with everyone. Establish yourself as a cooperative, easy-going and productive person. Be helpful. Go out of your way to make contributions not only to your inner working sphere, but also to related departments, especially where synergy and mutual advantages can be had in the future.

7. Make friends with your boss. Some people have the mistaken belief that employers stand on one side of the fence, while the employees are on the other. Though no person or corporate culture is perfect, it helps to understand that both you and your superior are in the same boat, with the fruits of success are shared between you. Try to forge a friendly bond with your boss, within the limits of professionalism and propriety. Doing so will bring you no harm.

8. Be professional. Professionalism isn’t just seen in the kind of work you do. How you conduct yourself in your relationships with your co-workers, having a positive attitude towards work, being a role model, and looking and acting the part of an executive (or any other position you want to acquire) is important. Whining, complaining and bad mouthing other people are common, unprofessional practices.

9. Be a team player. These days, a lot of work is being accomplished through teams. Getting a good reputation with your team members is part of effective networking. It’s also important to share successes with team mates. Striving to look after your own back with disregard for everyone else is anachronistic in today’s corporate culture.

10. Keep a good record of your achievements. It helps to keep a detailed and updated report of what you have accomplished for your company. State specific tasks and undeniable benefits derived from those tasks/ duties done. This is a mere back-up prop. It helps to have some palpable evidence of how much you deserve a promotion. The best way though, to get recognized, is to practice a combination of the tips mentioned above.

By Lolita Villa