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Getting promoted at work

If you want to get promoted, you need your employer to recognise your contribution. Taking on new tasks and learning new skills can help with this. Sometimes you may need to change employers to develop your career.

Decide what you're aiming for

Look at roles in your organisation and on job websites to find the type of job you want to have. Look at the required skills and experience. Think about what skills you already have and which ones you need to develop.

Finding a job you like

SWOT analysis

Look at your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats (SWOT). This is called a SWOT analysis.


What do you do well? You could always ask a colleague if you’re stuck. You will be better at roles which rely on your strengths.


What could you improve on? 


Think about the chances you have for career development. Use these to your advantage. For example, you can ask for training to develop your skills or find a suitable mentor in the organisation.


List obstacles that you face. This could be things like competition from colleagues or working for a small organisation. Identify these and think about what you can do to reduce their impact.

Some things can be both an opportunity and a threat. If your organisation is small, it might be difficult to get promoted (threat), but it might be easier to expand your role (opportunity).

An example SWOT analysis

Think about your role

People might wrongly assume that you're happy with your current job. Challenge this in a positive way by showing that you're keen to explore new ideas. Think about the experience you've gained and what you can do. Ask yourself:

  • What do you like about your current job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are you doing well?
  • What skills do you want to develop?
  • What goals do you want to achieve?

Take on new duties

It might be easier to take on new duties in a smaller organisation, but it might be easier to move between roles in a larger organisation. For example, moving on from being a receptionist by becoming a secretary or executive assistant.

Looking at job specifications for the role you want can help you to see what experience or qualifications are needed.

Talk to a manager you trust about what kind of new duties and projects you might be able to take on. These should help you to develop the skills you need. Agree to take on work that you feel comfortable doing or work with someone who is more experienced. Be realistic about how much extra work you can do.

Ask your manager to review how things are going. This will allow them to give you feedback.

Ask for training

Ask about learning and development in your organisation. If your employer cannot pay for you to learn new skills, you could ask about some independent study. You could also ask about working in another team or shadowing someone doing a different job. This will help you to understand what a different role is like. 

Online training

Online learning can be an effective way of learning new skills. You can access some of the courses for free:

Future Learn

Open Learn


LinkedIn learning

You can also get training on courses and conferences. Some are free and are also a good way of building your professional network.

Training for work

Find a mentor

A mentor can help you to think about things differently and to plan. Big organisations might have their own 'buddy' system. Ask your HR department.

Make a list of people you respect who work in your field. If they are doing or have done your dream job, all the better. Once you have this list, try approaching them. Many will be happy to help and may be flattered to be asked for their advice. Start by looking on LinkedIn or Twitter. Personal recommendations are also good.

Job networking tips

Begin by asking if you can have a short meeting to get some advice. If they agree to be your mentor, you might want to discuss:

  • how often you meet
  • what goals you’d like to achieve
  • your future career plans

Listen to your mentor, but you do not have to do everything that they say. It's fine to leave your mentor if you've learned all that you can from them or it's not working.

Ask to shadow your mentor if you want to. Use it as an opportunity to get to know new people.

Getting to know people at work

Mentors for disabled people working in the City of London (City Disabilities)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/02/2021

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