8 Tips for getting promoted

If an Account Manager does an awesome job and no-one knows about it, did it even happen?  Too often we’re so focused on our clients that we forget we also have a career.

Forget being a quiet achiever if you want a promotion.  Working hard, being good at your job and staying out of trouble won’t get you promoted.  The future belongs to those that know how to stand out.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll come off like an ass-kisser and no one wants that.  We’re going for gradual change that’s consistent and gets you noticed (in a good way). Not Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

First things first.

You must have demonstrated a basic foundation of credibility and expertise.  There’s no chance you’ll waltz into a great project or a sweet promotion without mastering your job. 

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffling them with bullshit will only get you so far

Now let’s go get that promotion!

(1) Be consistent at being good

You need to reliable at delivering quality work, on every level.  You must have high standards.  Don’t settle for “near enough is good enough.  If you catch yourself saying that’ll do, then it’s a sure sign it won’t


(2) Become known for knowing something

Account Managers wear many hats, so pick one.  Become your teams’ – and your Managers’ – go-to expert.  Build your reputation as someone who offers advice and helps solve problems.   You’ll have them lining up in no time for a piece of you.


(3) Take on some extra-curricular projects

If there’s an opportunity to take part in a special project or you spot a gap you can help close, then volunteer for it.  Let your boss know you’d like to take a crack at solving this issue by sharing a problem statement  Get aligned and seek permission before you dive straight in.


(4) Put on a happy face

Account Managers typically you don’t have direct responsibility for the products or services your client is buying. So when something breaks or someone lets you down, it’s easy to get steamed up about it and mouth off to anyone who’ll listen.  You can’t always be Mrs Nice Guy, but don’t get a reputation for being negative or pessimistic.A former boss reminded me that as an Account Manager, there were junior colleagues that looked up to me and I should lead by example, even when things were shit.   Wise woman.


(5) Ask for advice, not feedback

Claire Lew writes in Unlock honest feedback with this one word that the key to getting honest feedback is to ask for advice.  Somehow asking for feedback seems personal and negative. Asking for advice seems more positive, and helpful.  Potato, Potatoe, you say?  Give it a try.It’s also a great way to network internally with people you might rarely interact with:

”I’m giving a presentation to a bunch of [ insert marketing, product, tech, sales, operations etc. ] people and have prepared this pitch on our service.  I’d be interested if you have any advice for me.”


(6) Credit where it’s due

I was so afraid of turning people off with self-promotion that I’d always say “my team did this” or “I can’t take all the credit”. Then my boss at the time told me:

“Warwick, I’ve never heard you say “I did this”

In that instant, I realised I had erred too far on the side of caution. To the point that people in the business were beginning to question what it was I actually did all day! It was my own fault they had no idea.Be proud of your achievements and don’t be afraid to point them out.  Sometimes I find it easier to deliver with a little self-deprecating humour, but I still ensure my colleagues and managers know the part I played.  You’ll be surprised how people respond.  They’re usually supportive and energised by your success.Don’t claim the spotlight every time – that pisses people off.  Often you can simply let the results speak for themselves.  However, for the achievements your passionate about, shout it out loud.


(7) Appearance

What does your style say about you?  Does it get you noticed in the right or wrong way?  For years I wore jeans, t-shirts and sneakers to work on casual Friday.  Now I wear jeans, a casual shoe and a business shirt.  Still casual.  Still comfortable.  But it projects a very different image and one that I feel is more empowering.Try creating a Pinterest style board and save pins for your dream corporate wardrobe.  I try to replicate one outfit a month on the cheap (think ASOS not Armani). 

On a not un-related note, keep your profile photos current – if you’re now a brunette or sporting a beard, get a new pic and post it on all your social media (especially LinkedIn).


(8) Keep learning

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, learned skills have a shelf-life of only 5 years after which their obsolete; we need to adopt an “always-on” approach to learning experiences to build skills.In 5 Ways to Keep Learning and Save Your Career, Dan Finnigan suggests these tips:

  • Massive Open Online Courses – check out Coursera
  • DIY learning – lots of tutorials online (YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs) and don’t overlook your local library
  • Peer Groups – try Meetup – there are lots of professional (as well as social) groups


Final thoughts

There you have it: my top tips for getting promoted.  What do you think?

Now I know it’s not ground-breaking stuff.  It’s not even a lot of work, but it does take focus and it is very effective.  Write these 8 tips down on a post note or inside your diary or personal organiser and remind yourself daily and you will be well on your way to success finding you.


Free Career Development Plan

While we’re on the subject of promotions, check out Career Quest – the free account management career development action plan that reveals 8 essential skills every account manager needs and a 25 point action plan to master them:  

– Leadership
– Teamwork
– Positivity
– Communication
– Numeracy
– Problem-solving
– Commercial awareness
– Computer literacy

Download your free career development plan now