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If you’re serious about your career, professional development becomes an ongoing part of your worklife, because investing in your professional future will increase your odds of personal growth and the advancement of your career. Professional development that results in certifications recognized within your field speaks to your competency and commitment, but is that enough to win the promotion?
What takes you higher on the ladder of success?
Credentials vs Potential
Imagine for a moment that you are a business owner and you need to hire a new Manager of Accounting. You have it down to two last candidates and there is nothing to choose between them except one small difference: Candidate A has been an Accounting Manager for three years, candidate B would really like to become an Accounting Manager. As a business person the choice is obvious – you go with the person who has the credentials for already doing this job successfully and making their mistakes elsewhere.
Most promotions are achieved working your way upwards within a company.
Don’t they know who I am?
Work hard, be loyal, make sacrifices, be a reliable team player, don’t make waves – these all signify a worthwhile employee, but they won’t land you a promotion even with new certifications.
We imagine these behaviors will make us stand out and sometimes they do, but these things are never enough to win a promotion on their own. All too often the professional who quietly and reliably does the job becomes wallpaper. So asking for a promotion at review time simply won’t cut it. So what does work?
Translating potential into credentials
Identify the next logical step up your chosen professional ladder then collect six job postings for this new target job title.
Next, when you are ready, identify the next logical step up your chosen professional ladder, collect 6–10 job postings for your target job title, and do a Gap Analysis.
This means looking at those job postings to identify the gaps between the skills you have and the skills you need to qualify you for that next job.
Turning your potential (but with missing skills) into real experience with new skills, gives you credentials backed-up with appropriate professional certifications.
Getting a promotion takes time
Your manager should see that you want to be the best you can be by your commitment demonstrated every day. Then once every couple of months you casually catch up with him or her and explain what you are doing to grow, and how you are progressing; whenever you can, use this opportunity to ask for a project that will give you the experience you need to have under your belt for your next step.
Do this and while others are asking for a promotion once a year because, “It’s my turn,” you have been turning your potential into credentials and keeping management abreast of your growing credentials six or seven times more frequently – and without asking for anything.
Keep your ear to the ground for coming opportunities and bring your resume up to speed, showcasing your skills and credentials as they relate to your new target job. Then when the time is right present a resume to your boss that reminds the reader of all you can do and ask to be considered for the position.
Put yourself across the desk for a moment and compare this new you with your peers. Who would you promote?