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5 Proven Ways to Get a Promotion

Brittney Morgan
Brittney Morgan

Are you ready for a promotion? You may be wishing for a better title and a bigger paycheck, but if your boss hasn't indicated that you'll be moving up any time soon, you may need to make some changes.

From improving your wardrobe to changing your behavior in the office, here are five proven ways to grab your boss's attention and get the promotion you want.

Adjust your attitude

Before you can even think about getting a promotion, you need to make sure you have the right attitude. If you want to advance in your career, you'll have to ditch the "glass half empty" mentality and be more positive and optimistic.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 62 percent of employers said that having a negative or pessimistic attitude hurt an employee's chances for promotion. Having a bad attitude was considered just as egregious by employers as regularly showing up to work late, and worse than using vulgar language, regularly leaving work early and taking too many sick days.

Of course, no one can be sunny and smiling every minute of every work day, but if you know that you're the type to complain frequently, you should be more aware of how negative you come across and try to make some changes.  

Dress for success

You've probably heard the phrase "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" and research shows it's true. The way you dress definitely plays a part in how others form their first impressions of you, and it can do the same when you're looking to advance in your career.

Research from OfficeTeam shows that 80 percent of executives think clothing choices affect an employee's chances of earning a promotion. Of that 80 percent, 72 percent said an employee's style of dress mattered somewhat, while 8 percent said it mattered significantly. The survey also found that the extent to which clothing affects an employee's chances of being promoted has decreased over the last several years, but with only 20 percent of employers saying that clothing doesn't matter, it's not worth the risk.

That said, if you work in a very casual office, showing up in an expensive suit every day may not be the best option, but you can still find ways to dress to impress. Just observe what your supervisor or those who work in your dream department wear and follow their lead. It's all about dressing appropriately for your work environment and finding ways to incorporate your personality into your wardrobe, too.

Plus, according to research by University of Hertfordshire professor Karen Pine, your clothing can have a huge impact on your self-confidence, Daily Mail reported. And if you're feeling confident, you're definitely more likely to impress your boss. [How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise: 5 Tips for Success ]

Act like a leader

No boss will promote an employee who doesn't demonstrate good leadership skills, especially if a promotion means you'll be in a more managerial position. According to Harvard Business Review, if you want to move up in your career, you have to "act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion," and that doing so will ultimately make you more likely to get promoted.

So how can you prove your leadership capabilities without a team to lead? Harvard Business Review had some suggestions: First, you need to make sure you're not so distracted by your ambitions that you forget to excel at your current role. Get your work done, and do it well. From there, look for extra tasks, neglected business needs and smaller leadership roles that aren't being filled and volunteer to take them on. Be sure to also build relationships with important figures at the company. And definitely don't let your ego get in the way — instead, focus on what the company needs and maintain some modesty.

Be sociable

Another way to prove yourself to your boss is to socialize with other employees. Attending after-work events or joining group activities like a company softball league or trivia team shows that you're invested in company beyond just putting in your 40 hours per week. And, building relationships with other employees can show your boss that you're well liked and can also add to the idea that you can be a strong leader.  

A study by professor Timothy Judge from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business found that extroversion is the best predictor of leadership effectiveness, Business Insider reported. And according to CareerBuilder, building positive relationships at work both encourages teamwork and employees who build these relationships have a better chance at getting a promotion because they make the workday more pleasant, CNN reported. 

When you're socializing with co-workers, just make sure you're doing so appropriately. For example, attending a work happy hour is fine, but drinking too much could seriously hurt your reputation. In addition, when you're talking to your co-workers, you should avoid complaining and venting, because you never know who it will get back to. Stick to keeping things light and positive, and avoid controversial topics that could upset people or get you in trouble.

Just ask for it

If you don't talk to your boss about growth opportunities and your career trajectory at the company, your boss might not even realize you'd like to get a promotion. You should make it clear to your supervisor that you're looking to take on a bigger role so that you won't get passed over for a promotion simply because no one knew you were interested.

An Accenture study found that only 44 percent of women and 48 percent of men said they have asked for pay raises, and only 28 percent of women and 39 percent of men said they've asked for promotions, CBS News reported. But of those employees who did ask, the majority got a positive response. Seventeen percent were promoted to a new role that was even better than they'd hoped to land, and 42 percent got the role they asked for. Another 10 percent got a new role, but not the role they asked for, 5 percent got new responsibilities but no promotion, and only 10 percent got nothing in response.

Even if you don't think you're ready to outright ask for a promotion, talking to your supervisor about your goals and ambitions is still a good idea. If you're lacking in certain areas, your boss can tell you what you need to work on in order to be considered for a promotion or a pay raise. Not only will it give you an idea of changes that you need to make in your work and your behavior, it will show your boss that you're actively trying to improve, which will definitely get you noticed in a good way.

Image Credit: Bacho/Shutterstock
Brittney Morgan
Brittney Morgan
Business News Daily Staff
Brittney Q. Morgan is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor, as well as a graduate of Drew University, where she majored in History. Her work can be found all across the web at Apartment Therapy, HuffPost, and more. You can also find her on Twitter at @brittneyplz.