5 Ways to Set the Stage for a Promotion in 2018

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We all want to get promoted, but snagging that coveted title change is easier said than done. If you really want this to be the year you land that promotion, here are a few steps you can take.

1. Volunteer for a major project early on

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Companies tend to promote workers who aren't afraid of challenges and are willing to take charge. So if you volunteer for a new project at the start of the year, your company's management team is apt to take notice. And while you could wait till the middle of the year to take the lead on a major initiative, you're better off doing so earlier on in the year. Why? This way, if you hit a snag or don't quite meet expectations, you'll have ample opportunity to learn from the experience and recover. Furthermore, you may come to find that you're more focused and refreshed coming off the holiday season, and that might translate into better results on your part.

2. Pinpoint your manager's greatest source of stress -- and be the one to help alleviate it

Perhaps your boss is responsible for a weekly data send that causes him anxiety. Or maybe he's tasked with making monthly presentations but isn't particularly adept at the graphics involved. No matter what the sticking point is, if you're able to identify your manager's single greatest source of stress and help reduce it, you'll come away looking like a rock star. And that, in turn, could land you at the top of his list of candidates for the next promotion that comes up.

3. Be a team player

Climbing the corporate ladder often means setting yourself apart from the pack. But that doesn't mean you should completely shun the pack, either. Quite the contrary -- if you want a promotion, it helps to prove to your management team that you're willing to put your own best interests aside for the greater good of the company. This could mean offering your services to a team that's understaffed, even if it translates into putting in a couple of extra hours per week on your part, or just plain earning a reputation as someone who's generous with his time. Once others start talking about how helpful you are, management will come to get the message.

4. Explore different areas of the business

At any given company, it's easy enough to get pigeonholed into a single role and environment. But if you increase your knowledge about businesswide operations, it'll make the case for a promotion when the time comes. So put yourself out there and aim to get involved in different projects, particularly ones your team doesn't tend to cover. Better yet, ask to shadow higher-ups in other areas to get a sense of how they spend their days. Being well-rounded will give you a solid edge when the time comes to promote someone deserving.

5. Network within your company

You've probably heard about the importance of networking to further your career. But this applies in the context of your current employer as well. The more you get to know others who work for your company, the better your chances of not only learning from them, but getting them to appreciate what a go-getter you really are. So make a point of striking up (relevant) conversations with different managers and colleagues at your company. Teach them more about what you do and ask about their goals and priorities. Establishing relationships is a great way to get your name out there, and that, in turn, could lead to better opportunities.

Though promotions aren't always easy to come by, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success this year. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll be the proud recipient of a title change by the time 2018 comes to a close.

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