Last Updated on November 17, 2021

How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies

How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies

We’ve all heard about the Great Resignation, but what about the Great Promotion? Over four million people have quit their jobs, which is nearly three percent of the workforce in the United States.[1] And on a global scale, nine million employees from over 4,000 companies have sent in their letters of resignation.[2]

The entire workforce is ready to take on new challenges and find new opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that all of them are looking for a way out. Many are trying to find a way up. If you’re one of them and want to learn how to get promoted at work, then this article is for you. I will be talking about five strategies on how to get promoted at work.

1. Build a Relationship With Your Boss

Establishing a relationship is essential to getting promoted. Think about it. Would you go up to a perfect stranger and ask them to marry you? If you said yes, you might need some dating advice or at least some helpful reading material.

Getting the yes takes time because you can’t rush a relationship. The same goes for your boss. Don’t make the mistake of walking up to them and saying, “Hey! I want a promotion!” Instead, ask them for feedback, seek out their opinion, and engage in conversation. Find out what makes them tick, and then figure out ways that you can connect with them. If you want the promotion, then get to know the promoter.

You can excel at your job and be top-level in your industry, but getting a promotion is more than an evaluation of your performance—in many ways, it’s about your ability to be personable. You might want to grab that corner office on the 19th floor, but you can’t get there if you don’t make your boss want to bring you along for the ride. Give them a reason to want your company—not just your talent.

Professionalism is still key. But if you take the time to look up from the task list and get to know your management, you’ll be able to leverage those connections during the interview process and in your new position.


2. Find Out What Skills You Need

We’ve all heard it said that the early bird gets the worm. Well, the same is valid for business. It’s not enough to get to work on time, do the bare minimum, and work for a paycheck. If you want to get that promotion, you need to find out what skills and qualifications your boss is looking for—and learn them before you sit in the interview seat.

When you take the time to over-prepare for the job, this shows your potential boss two things: 1) you’re willing to be wrong, and 2) you’re willing to make it right. Being teachable makes you stand out above the crowd, and when you show people that you’re willing to work hard and take the initiative, they’ll see that there’s no limit to what you can do.

So, before you apply for that promotion, look at the skill sets required, take an online course, and learn more than you need for the position. Gain an edge over the competition by getting ahead of the curve. This will make you irreplaceable and the best candidate for the job.

3. Volunteer for Tasks

Volunteer for things that no one else wants to do but are a perfect fit for your skillset. You might be looking for a position in tech, but if you’re great at sales, then volunteer for sales events. Show potential employers that you’re irreplaceable by showcasing your talent through volunteering. Your goal is to be the first person that comes to mind when opportunities arise.

When you show people that your expertise is deeper than the surface of your resume, you’ll be one step closer to getting that promotion. Your boss will see you coming from a mile away—and they’ll want to hire you on the spot. This is especially important if your company has begun hiring internally for positions instead of looking outside of the organization. If this is the case, then it’s about proving yourself more than just on paper.

4. Get an MBA if It’s Required

If the job you want requires an MBA, then go back to school. Yes, it’ll take time, and yes, it’ll cost money. But think about it this way—what’s the cost of an opportunity?


If you want to make your boss regret not hiring you for a position, then go back to school and get that MBA. It shows drive, ambition, and dedication—all highly valued qualities in this competitive job market. It also gives you connections with other people who have more experience than you and can help you get your foot in the door. Plus, getting an MBA will provide you with access to a network, and that’s one of the most valuable assets for future career opportunities.

5. Be a Team Player

It’s no longer just about you, it’s about how well you can work with others. When you can highlight your flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency, you give potential bosses something to talk about—and the subject will revolve around you.

Companies want to hire people who can get along with others, not someone who complains about everything.[3]

Remember, being a team player is more than just being a nice person. It’s about having the ability to adapt, solve problems, and work together as a cohesive unit. And the best way to show how well you can work with others is by practicing in your current role. Make your team look good, and you’ll shine.

Is That All There Is to Getting a Promotion?

Now that’s I’ve covered some basic strategy ideas, I’ll try to answer some of the most popular questions surrounding the topic of getting a promotion at work. Here it goes!

How Can I Get Promoted Quickly?

Every company has its own culture and way of doing things, but some skills are transferable to most companies. Skills like communications, leadership, experience with technology, and behavioral intelligence will carry over from one role to the next while also giving you more knowledge about how your company operates on a day-to-day basis.


Networking is also an essential skill that you can learn in life, and it’s no different when it comes to finding a promotion at work. It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted, everyone can benefit from having strong professional relationships with their co-workers, supervisors, managers, and the CEO.

If you want to get promoted quickly, the best thing that you can do is to brush up on your transferable skills. Stand above the crowd by showing versatility and the ability to lead across multiple departments.

What’s the Best Way to Get Noticed by My Boss?

For someone to notice you, it means they have taken an interest in what you do on a day-to-day basis and how you are performing in your position. Once you notice that certain people are taking an interest, then it’s time for you to make sure they know what you’re doing and how well it works for the team.

Presenting your ideas at meetings is a great way to get noticed by higher-ups, as long as those ideas will help the company grow. You can also start to showcase your work on a more public platform, such as a blog or a newsletter that you write and distribute every month.

The best way to get noticed by your boss is to think outside the box and fill a need with a practical solution. If you’re social media look like it hasn’t been updated since the eighties, then ask if you can start a TikTok channel for the company. Show your boss that you are quick at fixing issues and bringing the business to the next level.

Where Do I Find Out About New Promotions at Work?

One of the best ways to find out about new promotion possibilities is by simply asking. If you don’t feel like your current position accurately reflects who you are as a professional or if there’s an opportunity that seems like it might be more suited for someone with your experience and expertise, then ask!


Your boss will be more than happy to let you know if there are any opportunities available, as well as how your resume might stack up against the other candidates. You could also search online hiring platforms, your company’s community board, or Google.

I’m Afraid to Ask for a Promotion. What Should I Do?

If you’re afraid to ask for a promotion, one of the things that you might want to do is to find new ways to showcase your skills and talents. Even before you apply, you can start taking steps to prepare your resume, stand out as a winning candidate, and gather information about the position.

You can also speak with supervisors about what opportunities are available at the company and what skills are needed in the future. And if you have a mentor, bring up the topic with them and see if they can help give some insight into how to get promoted. These ideas will get your name in front of people looking for someone just like you.

Final Thoughts

Getting promoted doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are specific actions you can take to move up the corporate ladder. It can be a challenging task, and it’s not the same set of challenges and obstacles for everyone. But with these five proven strategies on how to get promoted at work, you’ll be able to get ahead and land that promotion you’ve always wanted.

Remember what your goal is, and take it one step at a time. You can do this!

Featured photo credit: Christina @ via



More by this author

Dr. Colleen Batchelder

Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and Leadership Strategist | Executive Coach | Dr. Batchelder teaches business leaders how to create corporations where Millennials want to work.

How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies What Are Process Goals? (With Examples) 64 Monday Motivation Quotes to Start the Week Right Too Tired at Work? 4 Ways to Regain Focus and Balance 6 Surefire Tips to Build Self-Confidence That Is Unstoppable

Trending in Career Success

1 4 Effective Ways To Improve Your Work Performance Greatly 2 14 Steps to Achieve Career Success on Your Own Terms 3 How to Make the Career Change You Need (The Complete Guide) 4 How to Get Promoted At Work: 5 Proven Strategies 5 How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

Read Next


Last Updated on November 30, 2021

4 Effective Ways To Improve Your Work Performance Greatly

4 Effective Ways To Improve Your Work Performance Greatly

Peak performance in the workplace is essential for company growth and high-levels of productivity, but what’s easy to do is also easy not to do.  Searching “work performance” in Google pulls up 4,180,000,000 results in less than one second. To say that work performance is a buzzword is a complete understatement.

Everyone and their mother are interested in finding the latest gadgets and hacks to optimize their workplace productivity and output. Companies are caught between a rock and a hard place as they attempt to navigate the uncharted waters of working from home while keeping their employee productivity levels high. Sadly, if businesses had prioritized the essential components of creating quality company cultures, instilling trust in their employees, and showing high-levels of empathy before the pandemic, most wouldn’t be finding themselves in this situation.

Work performance, a highly subjective term, essentially comes down to finding ways to maximize an employee’s use of time, energy, and results, as these are things that can be both measured and used as a marker for productivity. While time is fixed and can never be changed, energy levels are fluid in nature and can become depleted over time unless people know how to harness it, and results are the end product of productivity.[1] They can be measured and, to be frank, are usually independent of the time or energy it takes to reach an end goal.

To truly understand how to improve performance at work, we need to understand what controls these factors.

The brain controls everything, which is why no single “hack,” pill, therapy, or product will be the cure-all for maximizing productivity at work.[2] The brain isn’t binary. It’s complicated and requires many factors to function at its highest level.[3] So, if you genuinely want to improve your performance at work, you must heavily invest in the maintenance of maximizing your brain and cognitive output.

1. Move Your Body to Activate Your Brain

If we were able to bottle up the effects of physical movement into a pill, it would be a blockbuster drug for the rest of eternity due to the exponentially growing body of research showing how effective exercise is in improving brain function cognitive processing.[4]

While physical exercise has traditionally been used to improve our physical structure, lose weight, and increase cardiovascular endurance, the game has completely changed with the growing number of research showing its beneficial effects on mental and psychological processing.[5]


Physical exercise is one of the most influential activities one can do to improve their mental performance, which then improves your performance at work. It can change DNA expression and create molecules of emotion that can improve your mood, provide mental clarity, and change the way your brain processes information.[6]

Movement vastly increases blood flow to the frontal lobe, a region on the brain responsible for cognitive processing, high-level thinking, and maintaining mental alertness.[7] It also increases oxygenation to the body, which improves your body’s ability to create energy and maintain mental focus for long periods. And while physical exercise can be one of the most efficient ways to activate the brain, it can also help you lose weight, which can also have detrimental effects on your productivity.

Research has shown that visceral fat stored around the body can decrease your brain’s ability to focus and concentrate due to the inflammatory markers fat creates throughout the body.[8] By losing weight and exercising, your can dampen inflammatory processes that are clogging your drain pipes of processing while also improving circulation and oxygenation to tissues that need it the most. And guess what? It doesn’t cost you a penny to take the initiative to get out and move.

Studies have shown that physical movement for as little as 10 minutes duration can provide significant benefits, vastly increasing your brain’s ability to update your internal software for enhanced memory and processing capacity.[9]

2. Take a Break to Get Ahead of Your Workload

People love talking about the number of hours they put into their work, with forums and LinkedIn posts chock full of individuals boasting about how many hours they dedicated to projects during the week. While this may sound great in theory, we know it’s full of fallacies and lies because it doesn’t jive with what neuroscience tells us about brain function.

Studies show that the brain has a maximum processing time of about 90 minutes before we start to see cognitive processing decline in quality.[10] As we continue down this path towards longer hours with no breaks in-between, we begin to see a vast increase in simple processing errors and mistakes, which mean lost time taking steps backward to retrace your steps to fix your errors.

It also means the brain can no longer perform at the levels it initially started with, making the tasks more challenging to complete and increasing the amount of time it will take to finish a project. We’ve seen this play out in endless scenarios, but they hold weight when taken from medical emergencies and surgeries.


Studies have shown that doctors performing medical procedures and making diagnoses at the 17th to 19th hour have an intoxicated individual’s equivalent mental capacity with a .05 BAC.[11] Does that make you think twice about booking your next surgery?

Taking a break from your work doesn’t mean you should sit and scroll through social media sites or be a troll on Reddit. You need to break away from work and do something that will replenish your energy stores and stimulate your brain. Taking a walk, laughing with a coworker, or even closing your eyes and doing meditation for a few minutes can vastly improve your performance at work and recovery time without skipping a beat of productivity.

3. Sleep Like Your Life Depends on It (Because It Does)

Sleep is a superpower. All organisms in the animal kingdom sleep to some extent, which provides some pretty compelling evidence about the importance of sleep and its role in our general health.

Sleep isn’t just a time to take a break—multiple chemical and physiological processes take place while we sleep, helping us regenerate tissue and restore our bodies to a high level. We now know that while we’re asleep, the fluid inside the brain (cerebrospinal fluid) increases in both flow and velocity to help the brain clear out toxins that build up throughout the day.[12] This internal housekeeping is a vital component of brain health and is theorized to be a hallmark sign of an aging brain.

Sleep has also been an influential factor in our mental health. It allows our brain to process information throughout the day and pose theoretical future situations through dreaming and lucid-like states of cognition.[13]

Memories are also filtered, consolidated, and stored with different sleep stages, which can significantly impact your performance at work and productivity over the long term.[14] If your boss always has to remind you of previous conversations in the boardroom, do you think they will trust you with major tasks and projects to get that next promotion?

Your memory can serve as your best friend in the workplace, which is why prioritizing sleep and making it a staple in your lifestyle can be a significant factor in your career trajectory—greatly improving your performance at work. Plus, sleep dysfunction can be one of the earliest signs of aging, especially in the early stages of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.[15]


4. Fast-Track Your Way to Success With Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Food will always be the fuel that powers our internal engine, so why do so many people make such poor food choices?

For many, it’s usually easier to blame a food than it is to blame our decisions or actions about choosing that food. Poor food choices lead to poor brain function, promoting excessive amounts of inflammation and high levels of blood sugar, which can inevitably tear down your body’s castle walls of immunity and self-repair mechanisms.[16]

Without drawing a line in the sand about which diet or dietary guidelines you should follow, it’s safe to say that in general, if your food came from the ground, it’s probably safe to eat. While keeping this in mind, there’s an even more critical caveat to consider: Intermittent Fasting (IF).[17]

Although fasting has been around for millennia and played a pivotal role in religious ceremonies for thousands of years, it has recently made a comeback in the public eye due to its remarkable capacity to prolong life and protect our DNA.

Fasting from food (especially foods that increase our blood sugar levels) can significantly influence the body’s ability to repair and do internal housekeeping, which is a constant battle that never ends. Fasting from food allows the body to route coveted resources to other remodeling projects in the gut, brain, and body, facilitating a sort of “taking out of the trash” scenario to improve cellular efficiency and output.

With fasting, we see inflammation levels decrease, blood sugar levels drop off, insulin sensitivities increase, and we’re able to get rid of old cells that slow down the rest of the chain in command.[18] These senescent cells are old cells that are too energy-intensive for the body to demolish, so they stick around and slow down other cellular processes, kind of like the slow group in golf that holds up the rest of the course for the entire day.[19]

Fasting can also give our brain additional energy reserves through the production of ketones created from the breakdown of fat within the body. This process serves multiple purposes of getting rid of unwanted weight and fueling the brain on high-octane fuel.[20] And the best part about fasting? It costs you NOTHING. Zero. Nada. Zip. It will decrease your grocery bill and help you lose weight, increase your energy levels, sleep better, have more sex drive, and make your brain work at a higher capacity.


Putting It All Together

It will always be up to you to decide how to implement these tools. No one else can make these choices for you, so if you’re looking to take your game to the next step to hit that promotion, finish that project, or improve your status within your company, choose one of these habits and own it for the next 30 days.

The goal with this is to make it into a lifestyle, not a diet or short-term focus. You can have our cake and eat it too. It will just take hard work and dedication on your end.

These habits may seem daunting, but try to remember that brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and getting dressed for the day used to be a daunting task for you when you were growing up. Habits become effortless because you do them more often, allowing your brain to use less energy and mental real estate to finish up a task.

Turning these tasks into daily habits will allow you to neurologically and cognitively maximize your personal and professional life. Make the hard choices now to live an easy life later.

More Tips on Excelling at Work

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via


[1] Workfront: The Right Way to Measure Work Performance: Results, Not Tasks
[2] NCBI: Major Structures and Functions of the Brain
[3] NCBI: Physiology, Cerebral Cortex Functions
[4] NCBI: The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities
[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight
[6] Scientific American: How Exercise Affects Your Brain
[7] SpringerLink: Acute Effects of Physical Exercise on Prefrontal Cortex Activity in Older Adults: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study
[8] The Journal of Clinical Investigation: Visceral adipose NLRP3 impairs cognition in obesity via IL-1R1 on CX3CR1+ cells
[9] Harvard Health Publishing: Need a quick brain boost? Take a walk
[10] Psychological Review: The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance
[11] BMJ Journals: Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication
[12] Scientific American: Deep Sleep Gives Your Brain a Deep Clean
[13] NCBI: Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials
[14] NCBI: About Sleep’s Role in Memory
[15] NCBI: Sleep dysregulation, memory impairment, and CSF biomarkers during different levels of neurocognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s disease course
[16] ASPEN: Diet and Inflammation
[17] NCBI: Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Feeding Compared to Continuous Energy Restriction for Weight Loss
[18] NCBI: Fasting induces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system which a high-fat diet prevents
[19] NCBI: The role of senescent cells in ageing
[20] NCBI: Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy

Read Next