10 ways to guarantee you get that job promotion in 2017

There's nothing like a brand-spanking new year to get you thinking about what you've achieved in the past year – or conversely, haven't – and where you're headed now.

For ambitious types, it can be a fine time to start plotting your rise up the highest rungs of the corporate ladder. After all, that's the natural progression, right?

Not all promotions are equal

Maybe not. Senior executive coach at IECL, Jill Livesey, sounds a note of caution for those seeking a promotion in 2017.

"It's really easy to travel through that corporate pathway…you are on that track. It's easy year-on-year to just keep doing that," she says.

Her advice is to have a good, long think before applying for that coveted role. What affect will it have on your life? And does it align with your personal values and purpose?

If it's a yes, the only way is up. We asked three experts how to position yourself for that promotion.

Sell yourself

But don't be a douchebag.

My words, not Livesey's, but that's the general gist of her advice on the matter.

She says promoting yourself is an art form, and people can fall anywhere on the spectrum – from humble to arrogant.


"It's about identifying where you are, because someone on the super-arrogant end might be selling their brand – but it's not a great brand," says Livesey.

"Equally, if someone is on the humble end of the spectrum that's not necessarily serving themselves or their team well."

Get comfortable with office politics

"I think wherever you have people, you have politics. It's just a given," says Livesey.

It's really just about how you interact with others, and whether you can play politics in a constructive way, she says.

It's no longer just about being technically competent

Your technical skills may have helped you rise up through the ranks, but once you get to the pointy end, it's a different story, says Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia.

"A high performance culture is expected at the executive level, so just being a good performer starts to become an important ingredient, but no longer the differential," says Malley.

Now, it's more about using your judgement to lead others, he says.

Work for respect, not popularity

If you're going for the top jobs, you'll have to show leadership, and always be working to solve complex issues – even if your solution isn't the popular one, says Malley.

Likewise, those aspiring to become a leader must pull back on the social stuff at work, he says.

"You've got to be able to live with that. The higher up you get on the ladder, the more isolated you naturally become, because you have to stay detached and independent."

Be the 'connector'

A connector is someone who's always on the lookout for people who might be of genuine value to the business. If you can build up a rapport and offer to introduce them to one of your senior bosses, even better, says Malley.

"Open the opportunity for them to meet, with no agenda."

Avoid being typecast

Stay in the same role too long, and HR will "start to believe that's where you live and that's all you can do", says Malley. Soon, you might believe it too.

He advises building up a wide range of skills, and periodically talking to search firms who can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Make yourself useful

It's crucial to start building relationships and strategic alliances throughout your career, says Jane Lowder, founder of Max Coaching.

However it has to be a two-way street. How can you genuinely be of help?

"It doesn't have be anything big. It could be flicking that senior executive or managing partner a heads-up on a particularly useful conference that's coming up," says Lowder.

"It shows you are aware of their particular interests and goals, and that you're across relevant resources."

Get involved

Likewise, you could make yourself more visible by volunteering on an internal committee, writing articles for professional associations or organising the occasional lunch with the general manager, says Lowder.

"You need to find a way to do it that sits well with who you are."

Not a fan of networking? Try this

If pushing your own barrow doesn't come naturally, Lowder suggested making it more about the person you want to get to know. How might they be feeling, and what do they need?  

For example, if someone's under the pump with a project, it could be as simple as walking over and showing interest.

Don't be a bad loser

Alex Malley says one of the biggest mistakes people make is having a half-baked crack at a promotion, and then getting upset when they miss out.

"To put it in simple terms, they're a bad loser, and that costs them a lot. So I always talk about being gracious in defeat."