How to Get Promoted from an Entry Level Job


You’ve already accomplished that first big goal: landing a job upon graduation.

But while getting an entry level job is a fantastic achievement, it’s just the first step in what will hopefully be a long and successful career that’s full of growth and advancement.

So, don’t get too comfortable or complacent. Once you’ve been employed in an entry level job for a few months, it’s time to set your sights on what’s next: earning your first promotion.

Obviously, you need to lay a solid foundation by performing your job well, being reliable and displaying a solid work ethic. Beyond these basics, however, what can you do to set yourself apart as an employee worth promoting?

Here are a few practical tips to get promoted from an entry level job:

Display the right attitude. Logically, managers want to give more responsibility and authority to employees who:

  • behave professionally;
  • are optimistic, even when they’re a little outside their comfort zone;
  • are humble and enthusiastic.

If you’re defensive, confrontational, dismissive of others’ ideas, or otherwise difficult to manage, you’re effectively killing your prospects for advancement.

Avoid the biggest pitfalls to earning a promotion. In this earlier post, we shared a few of the most common reasons employees are passed over for promotions. If any of these culprits apply to you, create a game plan to address them.

Communicate your desire. Never assume your supervisor knows you want a promotion. If you’d like more responsibility, explain your interest to your boss. Schedule a brief meeting to:

  • express your desire;
  • learn about what jobs you might be right for;
  • identify gaps in experience, skills and/or education between where you are now and where you want to be;
  • discuss “stretch” assignments you could take on to showcase your talents, acquire new skills and demonstrate your ability to handle more responsibility;
  • begin formulating a plan to make yourself the ideal candidate for a promotion when it becomes available.

Ask for feedback. How well are you performing in your current role? What aspects of your job performance could use improvement? Is there something you’re doing (or not doing) that’s hurting your potential for advancement? Ask coworkers and your supervisor for constructive criticism and ideas you can use to improve your chances for advancement.

Request a mentor. An individual who’s accomplished in your field can help prepare you for earning your first promotion by:

  • acting as an internal advocate for you, introducing and endorsing you to managers throughout the organization;
  • providing practical advice for navigating your company culture;
  • helping you accelerate the process of closing skills and experience gaps.

Related posts:

5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Land that Promotion

Getting Promoted: How to Show Interest in Career Growth the Right Way

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