How to Earn a Promotion In Six Steps

This article originally appeared on Stephen Koppekin’s LinkedIn profile on Jan. 23, 2018. Connect with Stephen on LinkedIn!

Driven employees focus on not only fulfilling job expectations, but actively advancing their place within a company. Actually accomplishing that goal, however, takes careful planning, patience, and passion as the opportune moment strikes. By applying these six strategies for professional improvement, those looking to land their dream job can kick off the new year with momentum in the right direction.

Consider where you’re headed

It’s near impossible to generate the kind of energy needed to become wildly successful if the thought of simply showing up to work leaves you drained. Even the world’s most effective piece of advice would do little to advance someone who lacks the determination to put it into practice. Before moving forward, it’s a good idea to evaluate whether your current career path really leads to a place of personal fulfillment.

Build a career plan

Navigating where you’d like to end up a decade from now may seem like a dizzying prospect, but creating a plan that accounts for the relationships you’ll improve and the credentials you’ll build at regular intervals can help compartmentalize a daunting, long-term goal into a series of more easily attainable steps.

Utilize mentors and sponsors

A position as top executive is rarely won through individual gumption alone. Many high ranking supervisors earn their place by relying on the guidance of mentors—experienced employees willing to share their knowledge—for advice when encountering foreign circumstances. Sponsors are also invaluable, as they can build bridges between novice and veteran power players, and open doors to opportunities reserved for only a few.

Recognize available resources

It’s good to be aware of all avenues for improvement, and even better to recognize which advantages are most directly available to you. Managers are often happy to assist in the career development of talented, motivated employees. Inform your manager that you’re aiming for a promotion, and they’ll be able to point out any shortfalls in your current performance, and offer corrective advice. Showing a willingness to take on responsibilities proves that you’re serious, so joining committees, working additional projects, and generally going the extra mile to realize organizational goals—as well as your own skillset—will boost your chances for advancement.

Master subtle self-promotion

Convincing leaders of your value is critical to career movement, however advertising yourself too loudly can turn off potential allies. Those worthy of success know that their actions, not hollow words, will always serve as their greatest advocates. They surround themselves accordingly, with people willing to acknowledge an exceptional performance, and capable of rewarding consistently noteworthy efforts.

Don’t neglect your home life

Working towards a promotion may entail extra hours at the office, and less time left to spend with partners, friends, and family. The people in your corner need to understand exactly why your time is limited, and what that will mean in the immediate future. Compromise is intrinsic to strong relationships, and honestly discussing your plans will circumvent confusion and potential conflict.