Careers

How to get promoted at work: woman’s viral LinkedIn post offers brilliant careers advice

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Illustration of woman at her desk

“I’ve been promoted 10 times over my 15-year career at five companies,” writes Megan Bowen, in a post which has received over 4,700 likes and counting.

Getting a promotion, as too many of us know, is about so much more than doing your job well. And, if you want to clamber your way to the next rung of the career ladder, you need to have a strategy in place.

The question is, of course, what should this look like? Well, with nearly 400 million professionals in more than 200 countries gathering in one place online, LinkedIn is an excellent source of careers advice. Case in point? Take businesswoman Megan Bowen, who recently decided to share her own hard-earned wisdom with regards to securing that promotion – and saw her comments go viral in the process.

“I’ve been promoted 10 times over my 15-year career at five companies,” she wrote, in a post which has received over 4,700 likes and counting.

“Here’s how I did it.”

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Bowen then went on to list her 10 tried-and-tested suggestions for securing a promotion. The four which stood out most to us, though, were as follows:

1) Clarify and communicate your long-term career goals, including your next step

It is not up to your manager to do this for you.

2) Demonstrate you can do your next role by taking on key responsibilities of that position

You don’t need to ask permission to solve important business problems.

3) Lead by example

Exude optimism, assume positive intent and help others – especially through tough times.

4) Choose the riskier path and join a start-up

These environments create more opportunities for growth than bigger companies.

Setting the start-up advice aside for one moment, it’s worth noting that there’s a definite theme to all these suggestions: namely, that we need to practice self-belief and channel it into self-promotion.

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We need to talk about our own achievements if we want to secure a promotion

As previously reported by Stylist, research shows that women are significantly less likely than men to view themselves as cleverer than the people around them, and women in Western countries are more likely to lack self-esteem than their male counterparts. Several studies also support the idea that women are less likely than men to ask for a raise – and when we do, we’re more likely to face repercussions for doing so.

All of this means that it’s up to us to sit our bosses down to set and discuss our professional career goals. To be honest about where we’d like to be in a year’s time. To document our success – and shout about it, too. To quantify our value and show the impact we’ve had on our company. To display passion, decisiveness and confidence (all great leadership skills) in our decisions. To take charge without fear. To recognise that the successes of others do not detract from our own (or, to quote Michelle Obama, ‘I don’t shine if you don’t shine’).

To, above all else, believe in ourselves and our own worth. 

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Of course, it’s also worth noting Bowen’s comments about working for a start-up. Because she’s right: at an early-stage start-up, time is valuable and every team member is critical.

As Start-up Institute co-founder Aaron O’Hearn recently told The Muse: “Start-up employees rarely work within the confines of one job description – you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty in a lot of different facets of the business.”

Working at a start-up, you aren’t just a cog in the machine,” adds Bryan Maleszyk, in the same article. “You have agency in building a company from the ground up. Business models and organisation, company culture, and values – you can have a say in all of this.”

Essentially, working for a smaller company allows you to take on incredible responsibility – and, in turn, offers immense growth potential, too. Which sounds like a win in our books.

To read the rest of Bowen’s advice, you can see her full post on LinkedIn here.

For more advice on how to talk about your achievements while asking for a raise or a promotion, check out our article on the subject here.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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