Playing the Promotions Game

Though we want to believe that merit and hard work alone will get us to the next level in our careers, in today’s competitive workforce it is not enough.

Entrepreneurs and marketing executives understand the importance of brand positioning to get ahead in business. The same basic rules apply when climbing the corporate ladder. You have to find a way to stand out and brand yourself in order to attain career success.

The following five rules will help you win the promotions game.

1. Getting in the Game

Excellence still reigns supreme in the corporate world. Be proactive about demonstrating your skills and talents. Take advantage of opportunities to show your uniqueness. Volunteer for a special project that isn’t in your job description, even if it means working after hours or in between assignments. The extra work will get you noticed and will help you create your brand.

2. Playing Off the Court

Don’t underestimate the power of the after work get together. Socialize with your colleagues after hours. Have a drink (alcoholic or otherwise) with your supervisor and co-workers at the local restaurant/bar; doing so lets your supervisor know that you are a team player. Accept that invitation to a weekend office barbecue; use this opportunity to develop a relationship with your team and supervisor. This will show your team that you are in it for the long haul.

3. Working on Your Game

Find a person that you admire at your company and ask them to mentor you. Seek out a mentor to give you career guidance. Be sensitive to your mentor’s time by using e-mail and quick meetings to ask questions and express concerns. Learn from her success story. Be clear about where you want to go and ask your mentor to help you get there. Develop a relationship with your mentor, and remember to thank her for the invaluable career advice.

4. Standing Out on the Court

Celebrate your differences and uniqueness. It is important to conform to corporate protocol, but never forget your individuality. Don’t leave who you are at home. For instance, if you are a member of a racial or ethnic group, share with your colleagues how members of your group view your company’s products; explain how the company can gain the loyalty of this target audience. Let your difference become your strength.

5. Be an Asset to Your Team

Never underestimate the power in being the go-to person. Find ways to make your boss’s job easier, and she will consider you an asset. When she gets a promotion or changes companies, she may bring you along for the ride. Or better yet, she may recommend you as her successor. Remember, there is value in being “number two.” The best way to become indispensable is to find a need and fill it.

Happy trails to the top!

About the Author

Cosette Yisrael is a features writer and the co-founder of Yisrael Communications, Inc.  She is also the host of “Journey to my Better Self” a radio show/blog designed to empower everyday women to transform their lives financially, spiritually, emotionally, socially, environmentally and physically. You can find her online at

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