How to Get a Promotion (Without Working Longer)


Overlooked for that promotion again? Short of working around-the-clock hours or, um, being more attractive, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to improve your prospects for advancement. Even if your work is good, on time and what the boss ordered, you can still be taken for granted. While there’s no substitute for simply doing good work, if you’re looking for a promotion, working smart can be more important than working more.

Of course, nobody likes a show-off, but there are ways to get noticed at work without being the first to clock-in each morning and the last to leave the building. First, you can give your self-confidence a boost by switching out that to-do list for an anti-to-do list: a regular end-of-day summary of all the tasks, big or small, that you completed. When you’re sure you’re able to present yourself confidently, defend your work and receive criticism without crumbling or arguing, arrange to have a feedback meeting with your boss — it may be the first time in a while they’ve had a chance to seriously think about your value to the company.

Next, think about the broader picture of your team. There may be unspoken rivalries for upcoming openings, but by offering encouragement, support and constructive criticism to your colleagues, you can build networks while displaying leadership qualities. And even if you’re beaten to the punch for the next promotion — the one who beat you to it will remember your admirable teamwork when he or she becomes responsible for choosing the next promotion.

So you see, it is not so much about doing more work, as figuring out – and re-establishing – where you belong in the culture of your particular company. For more tips on how to do so, check out this great new infographic, and get to work on your game plan for the next big opportunity.


Cummins, D. 2014. How to work smarter: 3 keys to career success. Psychology Today.
Fast Track Promotion. 8 Reasons you are not getting ahead at work (and what to do about it).
Vanderkam, L. 2014. How to get promoted without working long hours. Fast Company leadership.
Coleman, H. Empowering yourself: the organizational game revealed. AuthorHouse 2010.
Stanger, M. (2012). Attractive People Are Simply More Successful. Business Insider
Boogaard, K. (2016). Here’s What Happened When I Started Writing “Anti-To-Do Lists”. Fast Company
Guerchon, M. (2015). The worst thing you can do after getting passed up on a promotion.


Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Back to Top