Do your work and keep your business to yourself is the theme many adhere to as a way to advance on the job. While this is not terrible advice, true advancement with opportunities to advance requires more than just getting your work completed.
Job promotions are not always done objectively.
Most decisions to promote someone are based on more subtle criteria. If you plan a career path based on promotions within the company, you have to learn how to affect these subjective decisions in ways that often have little to do with performance.
Learn to dress.
Too many people try to dress to fit in with their peer group at work. The effect of this is to make you look like one of the group. This is fine for getting along with coworkers. It does not work for trying to be noticed when promotions are being awarded. While you do not want to be clone of your boss, dressing for the position that you want rather than the one you have is a good plan. This does not work for places with uniforms or positions where you need to wear protective clothing. In most office environments, dressing slightly above your coworkers makes you stand out in a positive way to your superiors.
Get better acquainted with your boss and his or her superior.
Promotions are a personal item for most managers and supervisor. They like to select a person with whom they already have formed a good relationship. Managers view this as increasing the odds that the newly promoted individual will have a personality fit with those associated with the new position. Getting better acquainted can backfire if you only succeed in proving to your boss that you will be a bad fit.
Increase your worth to the company.
Promotions generally come attached to salary increases. If you company is going to pay you more, you need to give them a reason to believe you are worth the money. The two best ways to do this is through experience and education. Learn everything that you can about how your company operates. Along with this, increase the number of jobs that you can do well within the company or department. Also, learn anything possible about positions above yours.
Formal education will help.
Take classes that will educate you for the next tier on the career path. This will help you be seen as someone who will have a small learning curve to take over new responsibilities. Most promotions happen when the person above you either leaves or moves up. Either way, this puts pressure on the newly promoted person to perform well quickly. Superiors know that they will start to look bad if things begin to fall apart due to a long learning curve for a new supervisor.
Look for opportunities to be included on special projects.
Companies tend to like to promote employees who can find creative ways to solve problems. Special projects frequently come attached to issues that need to be solved in order to meet a customer's needs. Employees who can think outside the box to build solutions that are cost effective and efficient get noticed. Bosses rarely forget people who have made complex projects come together. Participation on committees is another way to shine brighter than your coworkers.
Become a resource person.
This is another way to get noticed above your peers. If you can become the person that can be counted on to fix the gadget or find the widget, your superiors will view as more valuable. Generally, this type of perception only works in your favor for promotions. You might believe that you will be seen as too valuable to promote. However, employers will see you as someone that needs to be retained. Promotion is one the best ways to keep employees in the fold.
Be willing to work when others are not.
You do not want to be abused because of your flexibility. However, supervisors tire quickly of hearing their employees constantly turning down jobs or extra work that would benefit the company. The person who has a positive attitude and works to be available gains many points with the boss. Of course, this assumes that you do good work and do not have poor attendance at other times.
Develop a reputation as being helpful to coworkers.
Although some see being the boss as a power move, the best supervisors are the ones who are willing to make it easier for their workers to do a good job. Companies like supervisors who can maintain good relationships with employees and promote high levels of morale. They know that promoting workers that already have developed good relationships with those around them will continue to have a positive effect on the department as a supervisor.