Q: I am hoping to be promoted to the next level sometime in the next few months. I feel like I am doing well on my day-to-day activities and tasks. However, I am not sure what it takes to move to the next level. Is there a way for me to know what my manager is looking for, in order to promote me?
A: This is a great question! It sounds like you feel like you are performing well in your current position. Being a strong performer in your current role is certainly a factor, so keep it up. There are a few ways which you could better understand the expectations of a new role. Here are my suggestions:
- Observe your co-workers in the next level up from your current position. What are they doing with respect to daily activities, that might be different from your role? Are there common traits, skills or experiences that each of these individuals have?
- If your company posts roles internally, is there a way for you to review the job posting for the role above you? Does it discuss qualifications and experiences?
- Have you and your manager discussed your career path and/or goals for the next opportunity within the organization? Has that been part of your performance evaluation meetings? If not, can you ask about it?
- Have you asked your manager? It may feel a bit forward, but it is ok to ask. One approach might be: “Mariana, I would very much like to talk to you about the Senior Accountant role. Would you have some time to discuss that and how I can be considered for that type of role in the future?” It is ok to ask in a professional manner. A question like this, posed in a professional manner, will prompt your manager to think about you for future opportunities. Also, it clarifies your expectation that you want to be considered for a new opportunity and you are interested in upward mobility.
- If you are friendly with a person in the role above you, you can ask that person about their career and their career path. I would suggest having this conversation over coffee or lunch. Most people enjoy talking about their career and their career path, particularly if they have demonstrated that they are approachable. This person might be flattered and may share details about their journey, which could be helpful for you to understand. Though their experiences may differ a bit, there may be some learnings from this conversation.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Sometimes jobs are not posted internally, so you would want to ensure that you are aware of any opportunities that may become available in the next few months.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.