How I Got Promoted At Work (& I wasn't the most qualified)

I got my start in a management career before going to college and without any previous managerial experience. I was answering phones in a cubicle when a supervisory position opened up at work. I applied, but was competing for the job against people who had more seniority and experience than me. However, I got the promotion because of other factors that bosses take into consideration, and you can do the same thing.

Exceptions to the required experience listed on a job description are made all the time, which allows "unqualified" people to advance. That's because there are many intangible qualities bosses are looking for as well. Here are 5 things that are just as important as experience when it comes to getting promoted at work.

1. Getting to work on time.
Nothing irks a boss more than you showing up late. Consistently show up late and your boss is going to start to believe it is a poor reflection of your work ethic, personal responsibility, and commitment to your job. Showing up 10 minutes early each day is by far the easiest way to stand out from the crowd and will be remembered when its time for interviews.

You can also craft a positive image for yourself at work by staying 5 minutes late each day. Many employees seem to move the fastest 3-5 minutes BEFORE the end of their shift and then look like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt running from the building at quitting time. That can send a variety of messages, such as they HATE their job. Stick around for 5 minutes and it could be just you and the boss standing there. Guess who looks like the hardest worker now?

2. Sitting up front.
While most people want to get as far away from the boss as possible because they want more privacy or want to avoid scrutiny, you should look for any opportunity to keep yourself and your work area right in front of her. Understand that by placing yourself directly in front of the boss you are giving yourself an advantage no other promotion hungry co-worker will have. The boss will have a chance to see your optimum performance every day, and during your interview will easily recall having seen your hard work for herself.

3. Treating work like work.
Paper airplanes, flying rubber bands, bouncing balls, pranks, elaborate jokes, gags, and silly magic tricks don't have a place in a professional's work life. If they are in your work life, get rid of them immediately. If they are in your co-worker's work life, avoid it like the plague. Sure, there are stories of BOSSES who act like work is a playground, but they are the exception.

Just as you find in all walks of life, people react to you based on the image and behavior you project. Your mom said it best "If you are going to act like a 5 year old, I am going to treat you like a 5 year old." When its your turn to be interviewed for a promotion do you want the reputation of the class clown or a class act?

4. Being likeable.
Perhaps, the most important aspect of getting a promotion (or job offer) is if the hiring manager likes you. Hiring managers want to hire someone they feel comfortable with and feel a connection to. You should treat every day at work as a networking and relationship building opportunity. You can do that by being friendly and being a friend.

Show an interest in others. Get involved, smile, laugh, and be a team player. The friends you make along the way will gladly do their part to help you get promoted or meet the right people to help your career along.

5. Not complaining.
The room is too hot, the water cooler is too cold, the lunch breaks are too short, and the days are too long. You can bet the boss hears it all, and you are not the only one complaining. The workplace is full of complainers. Eventually, the complaining begins wears on the boss and she will naturally want to either avoid the complainers or find a way to remove them. Surely, the boss will not want to promote a complainer.

Instead of complaining tell the boss thank you. Find reasons to thank her several times a week. Thank the boss for the training, feedback, or new assignments you receive. Be recognized as a thankful contributor instead of a complainer and you will make it easy for the boss to offer you the promotion.

So we have talked about 5 simple ways to ensure you are the person at work that gets the available promotion. Are there also real simple ways to sabotage your chance at the promotion? There sure are! Here are 5 great ways to never get hired, promoted, or a decent pay raise.

1. Smell like cigarette smoke or heavy perfume.
2. Have poor appearance. For example, dog hair all over your clothes.
3. Be fidgety like a small child with an inability to focus on simple tasks.
4. Think that being silly or immature at work is ok or even cool. Trying to attract attention to oneself.
5. Treat work like it is your therapists office. Discus sensitive, uncouth, or personal issues out loud for everyone to hear.

More Resources For Getting A Job Promotion
Tips and Advice for Getting a Promotion at Work
11 Steps For Getting A Job Promotion
5 Tips for Getting Promoted Fast
Getting A Promotion In A Tough Economy
How To Get A Promotion By The End Of The Year
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