Want a Promotion? 12 Qualities You Need to Move Up the Ladder

Bosses look for many different qualities before they’ll even think about handing out promotions. You either have what it takes or you don’t, and in the real world, nobody’s going to hold your hand and tell you what to do – the reality is that you should already know. Because of this mentality, it’s common for employers to write you off for that promotion unless they see these traits in you.  If you want to move up the ladder, there are a few things you’ll need to show.

  1. You’re generally happy with your job. While you might think you’d be happier in a higher position, your boss has a different take on the matter. He needs to see that you have a positive attitude first – and then he might consider promoting you. Remember: having a positive energy is what attracts positive things like promotions.
  2. You’re self-motivated. If you’re more likely to wait to be given a task instead of creating a task for yourself, it’s in your best interest to become more self-motivated. If you’ve run out of work and nobody’s giving you more, that’s exactly when self-motivation comes into play. The fact that you completed all your tasks at work so quickly is good, but what would be great is if you then took the initiative to do extra things around the office. It’s important to be able to think of things to do or discover new ways in which you can add value to your company all on your own.
  3. You don’t need constant supervision. If you are autonomous, you’re likely self-motivated and independent. Autonomy will get you noticed by people who are happy that you’re getting the job done with them having to babysit you nonstop. The great thing about this is that positive feedback will start getting back to your boss, which can only be good news for your career.
  4. You have common sense. It’s common sense that you should arrive to work on time (or better yet, early). It’s common sense that you only do work-related tasks when you are at work (no online shopping at Victoria’s Secret). If you don’t have common sense, it’s unlikely you’ll be a desirable candidate for a promotion.
  5. You dress the part. When a company tells its employees that there’s no dress code and that it’s a casual work environment, that’s a trick. Don’t be fooled – there’s no such thing as a casual work environment when it comes to how you look. Fair or not, how you dress is super important. Dress code or no, have you ever noticed that management usually dresses formally? You need to dress for the role you want, not the one you have. You’ll immediately be looked at in a much more professional light.
  6. You take care of your personal hygiene. When you arrive to work looking fantastic, you feel fantastic, and that makes you feel extra confident in how good you are at your job and in your place in the office. That in itself should be motivation to always arrive to work looking professional and polished. Also, wear deodorant. You wouldn’t want your boss (o anyone else, for that matter) thinking you smell, right?
  7. You’re capable of thinking outside the box. If you can come up with a new and better solution to a problem, that’s fantastic. Think of a current issue at work – maybe it’s only a mild annoyance or inconvenience, or perhaps it’s something that is being done slightly inefficiently. Take an issue big or small, implement a change, and the result will always be the same: your boss will be impressed. Whether you’ve suggested a new vendor or you’ve come up with a new employee travel policy; if you fixed an issue with a new idea, you’re thinking outside the box.
  8. You go the extra mile. Going above and beyond is probably the most noticed attribute in any employee. Many bosses complain about their employees doing the bare minimum, or doing a good job instead of a great job. If you complete all of your responsibilities, you’re doing a good job. You won’t be let go, but you also won’t be promoted. Why? Because doing a great job means that you surprise your boss by exceeding expectations instead of just meeting them.
  9. You have fresh ideas. Your boss will be stoked if you’re always throwing fresh ideas his or her way. You may have an idea for a great staff party, or an idea to achieve better results for a campaign. Your fresh ideas show your enthusiasm, passion and your loyalty to the company. They also prove that you possess creative stimulation, which is extremely valuable.
  10. You get along well with your coworkers. If you’re an easy person to get along with, that proves that you’re a good fit for the company. Your boss will notice whether or not you’re a good fit, and if you are, that heightens your chances of being promoted. Employers tend to want to keep you around if you mesh will with the staff and the fit in with the company’s corporate culture.
  11. You have the ability to view yourself through your employer’s eyes. The ability to ask “Would my employer be pleased with this or pissed about this?” and know the answer is a valuable strength. It’s the ability to know what types of things piss your boss off… and not do them. Plus, knowing what your boss values and bringing that forward makes you indispensable.
  12. You really “get it”. Generally, if you are resourceful, efficient and on the ball, you’ll do well at work. It’s always nice when an employee can solve a problem on her own so that the boss never even finds out there was a problem in the first place. If you drop the ball but your boss never finds out, did the ball even drop? Efficiency and resourcefulness are qualities you must have in order to climb the corporate ladder. If you catch yourself lacking in either of those qualities, it’s up to you to figure out a way to improve. Think of it as a test: Your boss won’t be telling you how to pass the test, and if they did it would so not count. Your boss wants to see you pass the test all on your own.
Erica Majored in Psychology at UBC and now works in the glorious dating industry. See more of her articles on her awesome advice column TheBabeReport.com. Oh, and she's obsessed with Hawaii. Want proof? Follow her on Instagram @ericaleighgordon