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5 Keys to Being Promoted at Work

We all want to get ahead in life—including in the workplace. Learn how to advance your career and get the promotion you deserve.

We’ve all been there, yearning for that promotion from management that we are certain we deserve. But sometimes the wait becomes longer than we’d like. If the quality of our work is there—along with the dedication and drive—shouldn’t that be enough? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not so simple.

The workplace landscape is changing and, though a lot of the same values are still in place, relying on an annual review for a promotion or raise is no longer feasible. This is especially true considering that among jobs held by workers aged 25–34, the median tenure is 2.8 years.1 The ever-changing climate of the workforce and work environment makes it important to consider ways to elevate yourself beyond just a yearly assessment. To help you on this quest, we’ve outlined five keys to being promoted at work.

5 Keys to Being Promoted at Work

  1. Battle Complacency

    There’s nothing wrong with being pleased with your work performance. But becoming complacent can act as a barrier between you and future success. Try to balance self-satisfaction with consistently setting more goals for yourself. That way, you can honor all you have achieved while staying focused on what you will achieve next.

  2. Demonstrate Your Drive

    Staying motivated can be a challenge—and showing others how motivated and driven you are can be even more difficult. Self-motivation is a key life skill that’s invaluable to your career trajectory. And this skill can best be demonstrated by our attitude and our actions when dealing with others. Work to maintain a positive mindset, particularly in the face of setbacks, and be open to feedback and collaboration with others. Try to be proactive when it comes to problem-solving. By focusing on solutions rather than obstacles, you’re actively demonstrating to management that you are motivated in your role and dedicated to driving things forward.

  3. Keep Learning

    Furthering your knowledge—whether through a business degree or on-the-job training—is key to advancing your career and getting promoted. And the digital age makes gaining new skills easier than ever. Consider continuing your education by enrolling in a master’s program or taking applicable online classes at an accredited university. Ask to shadow someone in your department to learn more about how things work and how you can contribute more in your role—or future role. Becoming more well-rounded by acquiring transferrable skills and knowledge puts you in a better position to negotiate for a promotion.

  4. Advocate for Yourself

    Sometimes it’s not easy to talk about ourselves to others—especially when it comes to our career achievements and performance. But it’s important to become comfortable doing so, because no one can advocate for you the way that you can. You’re doing the work, you’re showing up on time, you’re being a helpful and supportive co-worker, and you’re doing what it takes to stay motivated and improve your skills. All that’s left is to learn how to communicate these accomplishments, particularly to those in management who play a role in deciding whether you get promoted. Keep track of projects you played a crucial part in and any instances where you served the business exceptionally well. A record of those contributions will come in handy when you go to bat for yourself.

  5. Become as Indispensable as Possible

    There are many ways to make yourself indispensable to your employer. According to Forbes, things like going the extra mile, becoming a thought leader, and staying current with technology can help you carve out a more permanent and harder-to-replace position within the company.2 And even if your efforts don’t work out exactly as planned, they can set you up for more favorable promotion discourse and strengthen your professional development.

Advance Your Career by Earning a Business Degree at Walden University

If you’re looking to further your career, consider earning a business administration master’s. Online education makes it more convenient than ever to gain the experience and knowledge you need to excel in your field. And at Walden, you can earn a business degree or management degree from wherever you have internet access—there’s no need to rearrange your schedule or commute to campus. Walden’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, for example, allows you to take classes at whatever time of day works best for you. Continue to work full time and contribute to your company while you earn a degree online at Walden.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of business and management degree and certificate programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,