Career Advice

5 Hacks to Prepare for Your Promotion

Guess what everyone?!

I just got a promotion! Wooooo hoooooo! 

I went from associate to associate director of human resources and administration. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Even though I knew I deserved the promotion, I was still really surprised when my supervisor gave me the news. The news came at a time when I was proud of a huge project that recently concluded. Work was good, and it was also really, really, really busy!

They promoted me and now trusted me to oversee an entire department. Whoa, this promotion is A LOT of work. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve spent less time at my desk because I’m always in meetings. I’ve let a couple things slip, which I rarely do. I was not prepared for what would come with this promotion!

I was so focused on a title and higher salary that I forgot how much additional time and effort a higher position would require of me. I’m definitely ready for the next step, but in hindsight, I wish I would have prepared better (but I’m not sorry for getting promoted six months earlier than anticipated. Owww, go me!). If you’re stepping into a new role or preparing for a promotion, use these five hacks to stay on track and to be prepared for your next move. 

1. Have Systems and Organize Them

There are parts of my job that are so routine, that I can almost do them in my sleep. Most parts of my job require skill, thought and the little self-authored stickies on my desk. When your promoted and you have to turn over responsibilities to someone else, it’s imperative that you have an organized system or procedure. Whether there is a software or spreadsheet required to complete the task, it is really important that you walk them through exactly what’s expected and the desired outcome.

When you’re training someone, make sure you are (and are perceived as) being open for questions and follow-up. If anything is unclear, you want your trainee to feel comfortable coming back to you, not making it up as they go along.

2. Stay Caught on Your Email

I’m HORRIBLE at this. Am I the only one that has a bad habit of reading an email and then forgetting to respond or move it to another file? Ok, maybe I am… 🙂

Instead of letting emails pile up, either respond or go ahead and put it in a different folder. If it’s junk, just delete it. I was super behind on emails while planning the retreat. In this new position, I get scores of new email every day so I fell even more behind.

I swallowed my pride and took one Sunday afternoon to catch up on emails. It was tough for me to devote a weekend day to #worklife, but as a leader within an organization, we have to set the example. If anyone should be spending extra time at work during the big transition, it’s me. I cleaned up my email and setup rules for FYI emails. When you setup a rule in Outlook, gmail or another email provide, you’re telling your email to put messages that meet a certain criteria, in a particular folder. It’s really help if you are cc’ed on administrative emails. Here is an article about how to create rules.

3. Know Who the Players Are

In my new position, I’m working with different parts of the business than before. It’s really interesting, and I’m looking forward to learning more. Since it is all new to me, I setup meetings with key people in different departments. In the meeting, we discussed exactly what they do and how our positions interact. I want to excel in the position, and to do that, I need to learn the current systems and procedures from the people that actually implement them. 

Setting up introductions with key players is also a great way to strengthen your work relationships. Having a good rapport with people goes a long way within any organization. You can get to know colleagues with 1:1 meetings, as well as attending company social events. 

4. Have a Plan

When we dream of a promotion, rarely do we highly anticipate, spending long hours at work, or still doing grunt work. We think of the perks. I encourage you to enjoy your perks while you have them, but I also want to remind you, you’re still climbing the organizational ladder. Now that you’ve completed one goal, what’s next? What are your goals for the new position?

The answers to these questions might be really clear, such as the next title within the company. You might have to do a goal-setting exercise with your manager or yourself figure out the next steps. Take your time with the process but make sure you have a plan. 

5. Don’t Forget Time Management

The final point hack is the most important. In your current position, you have probably mastered time management skills (duh!). In the new position, you must adjust your current methods to account for new responsibilities, meetings and time commitments. 

I’ve talked about scheduling blocking quite a bit on Periscope. I like using that for my work calendar, and since taking on the new responsibilities, I’ve had to incorporate new time-sensitive commitments. I’m also challenged to actually follow my schedule. While building relationships and taking on new responsibilities, it can be hard to fit everything into the work day, but you have to figure out a way. You have to effectively manage your time so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

If you’re looking for more information about leadership, time management and generally being a boss at work, check out our CMB Mentor program. We have webinars and videos about time management, work life balance, motivation at work and more. Access to the program is free when you sign-up here. 


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