When and How to Get a Promotion

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Promotion Quick! Before the month ends, you'd better ask for that promotion. With the economy perking up, many workers who have been taking on additional responsibilities to compensate for laid off staff might believe its time to seek a little recognition for their efforts. While the timing could well be right to ask for a raise or promotion, certain months are better than others, and the time is ripe in January, according to recent research conducted by LinkedIn.com, a prominent professional networking site with more than 90 million members.

A Buck Consultants survey titled, "Compensation Planning for 2011," found that "More than three-quarters (76%) of organizations that froze pay during the last 18 months have lifted their pay freezes or intend to do so by the end of 2010." The study also notes that workers in the U.S. can expect only modest pay raises this year, although salary increases for 2011 will average 2.8 percent, an increase from the two previous years.

According to the data, the top three months for professionals in the U.S. to get promoted within their company are:

January
June
July

The analytics study also showed that different industries in the U.S. see spikes in promotions at different times. For instance, the professionals in accounting, defense & space, education management, higher education, military, non-profit organization management and research all tend to see a spike in promotions over the summer months, more so than other industries.

Other key findings about promotions include:

  • Between 70 percent and 80 percent of employees can expect pay raises this year, but only 57 percent of executives should expect a pay increase.
  • "Specialized industry knowledge" is the top reason organizations are offering a hiring or retention bonus.
  • Referral bonuses are offered by 59 percent of employers.
  • Age is a factor. Millennials are most likely to be promoted throughout the year (rather than just in January which is the case for most professionals)

"One of the best ways to get promoted is by promoting yourself," said Lindsey Pollak, a career and workplace expert. She says that it's a good idea to ask clients, vendors and other third parties for recommendations, which can be posted on your LinkedIn Profile. "By encouraging other professionals to champion the work you do in your current role, you'll be more likely to advance to the next level," she says.

Here are some other tips for getting that promotion:

Shine the Spotlight on New Skills

Impress your manager by learning new skills that go above and beyond your current role. Expanding your horizons while working full-time is a commendable endeavor that's worth calling attention to. If your company offers an education reimbursement program, take advantage of it. If you have industry certifications or went back to school for a higher degree, mention them in your LinkedIn Profile and during your review.

Get Connections in High Places

Reach out to mentors, peers and those with higher positions in your workplace. LinkedIn's Advanced People Search is a good tool for this. After the promotion, a strong relationship with a peer will give you a friendly ear you can rely on for advice if things get tough.

Toot Your Horn

Remind your manager of your accomplishments. Even if they were monumental, he or she may have forgotten about them. If a customer sends you an email thanking you for the amazing event you put together for them in record time, forward the email to your superiors so they're aware of the praise you're receiving.

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