Asking for a promotion can be a daunting task in any employment market. Quantifying our strengths and successes can be overwhelming as we determine what leverage we have to back up our need for a higher salary or better position, but there are ways to prepare long before the meeting comes. Here you’ll find 6 tips, designed for those in the logistics industry, to help you prepare for the big moment.
Cultivate a Mentorship
Finding a mentor can be the difference between advancing and feeling stuck in one place. Mentors aren’t just management in your current company and can come from any facet of our industry. Learning what you enjoy most and what path you want to take can help you find a mentor to guide you. Professional networking events are a common way to look for a mentor, but they aren’t the only path. Looking outside of your own company, talking to customers and vendors in different industries are great ways to find people who can work with you.
Taking someone under their wing, mentors can be there for you when you’re at a cross roads and offer guidance on when to ask for a promotion. A key skill for any mentor/mentee relationship is to find someone who is honest with you about your strengths and weaknesses. Encouragement is important, but honest evaluations and ideas for how you can prepare and improve are often the most valuable tools from this relationship.
While it may sound cliché, being positive can often be the force that separates candidates. Pessimism, negativity and complaining employees aren’t the people we want to be surrounded by for hours every day. A positive outlook and a proactive approach to problem solving with a sense of value for teamwork are the ones we want to accompany us on our careers. Our industry is demanding and difficult with built-in stress and everyone understands that bad days and even weeks happen, sometimes often. But dealing with that stress and moving ahead without letting it crush you is the best way to let supervisors know you’re capable of handling more responsibilities.
Hot on the heels of positivity, professionalism matters. Attendance, punctuality, and respect for your co-works are all important when looking for someone to promote as we want a good example to move ahead. Make a habit of discussing and brainstorming instead of complaining and offering help to co-workers even if you’re not responsible for their tasks to show managers that you’re preparing to be a leader in thought and in deed. Finally, as we discussed in our post on the Year of the Rooster, professional attire shows you care about the image you set for the company and is a fast way to get noticed as an employee who will represent the business well, or not.
Nobody knows how great you are quite like you do. Learn the art of discussing your successes and challenges in a way that provides a clear, colorful picture to others in your network. Talk to others about your career goals and the steps you’ve taken to get where you are. Keep good records regarding your role in projects or support to use during negotiations. They’ll not only give your supervisors an idea of your work which they may have been unaware, but also it serves as a reminder to you of your progress and can be helpful when looking for key skills which may need further cultivation.
Volunteer for More Work
Logistics is a fast paced industry and we all have enough on our plates, but asking for more responsibility or getting involved in other facets not only shows your tenacity, but it acts to further train you in the different jobs at your company. Cross training and being willing to devote more time to the job even in areas you’re unfamiliar provides a much need support qualification to any of your negotiations. Being a willing and eager participant in the company as a whole give you more visibility in the office and proves your ability to manage and engage with those who are on different teams or departments.
While pursuing a higher education or supplemental knowledge is a common tactic for trying to advance, it’s not the only education that matters. Signing up for seminars, classes for certifications (Haz-Mat, CDL, etc.,) can show that you’re serious about this industry and willing to devote your own time. The passions we have are the pursuits we chose. By mastering the technology used in your office, supplementing the mandatory knowledge on your own time, and continually looking for ways to add to your skills, you’re adding layers of serious knowledge to your resume and showing that you care about the profession as a whole instead of just a job. Luckily for logistics professionals, there is no shortage of continuing education opportunities. Talk with supervisors about classes, tuition reimbursements, webinars and ask for advice on which to choose when. This gives them the chance to guide you and to see that you’re proactively trying to become a better employee. By following their guidance and completing the course of study, no matter if it’s only a 3 hour webinar, shows your supervisors that you’re not just talking the talk. You’re active in your pursuit and completing tasks that you begin.