4 Ways to Prove Yourself to Your Boss and Invest In Your Career

Jan 10, 2014 - Joe Matar

You’re walking taller and smiling at everyone who passes you in the hall. You’re strutting your stuff. You don’t care who knows it because you’re on top of the world.

You scored another big win at work, and you feel unstoppable. You know a promotion is within reach, and you’re ready. But your boss has made it clear that right now isn’t the “right time” for promotions.

Does that mean you should simply sit and wait to eventually get promoted?

Absolutely not. This is your moment to get more than a pat on the back.

If you’re usually too shy to ask your manager for something, focus on your confidence high to push you out of your comfort zone. You’ve just shown your value to your company. Why wouldn’t they want to make an investment in their star employee?

If a promotion is off the table (for now), consider asking for something that will keep you in the running. Even better, ask for gifts that keep on giving to your career.

1. Request bigger projects

It’s not who you know, but who knows you. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) Moving up is easier when senior leaders already know who you are. By staying at the top of the right minds, your chances of being picked to lead that new team or work with the new CFO increase.

Still, people will easily forget about the huge account you landed last month when Jimmy just saved the company $2 million today.

To stay on top, you need to work on bigger projects with more visibility. If your boss doesn’t have any high-visibility projects for you right now, then ask for more responsibilities that will put you in front of important decision-makers.

For example, you could ask your boss to let you sit in on the weekly innovation meeting for all department heads. You might only be there to take notes and listen, but you’ll have a chance to build your rapport with influential people that your colleagues miss.

2. Seek out opportunities for professional development

Learning a new skill or fine-tuning an existing one is essential to staying competitive in any field.

While you should do as much as you can to invest in yourself, a certification can easily run you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Why not ask your company to fund your professional development instead? Your employer benefits from expanding your expertise and knowledge as much as you do.

Ask your boss to cover the costs for that digital marketing conference in New York you’ve been dying to attend. You’ll not only learn about the latest and greatest trends in your industry, but also meet industry leaders who could help your career in unexpected ways.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of internal training programs your company might offer. Those programs are typically meant for employees the company wants to retain long-term. Hint, hint.

3. Request feedback

Often overlooked (and dreaded), feedback is actually one of the best gifts your boss can give you.

Asking for feedback doesn’t mean asking your boss to list your shortcomings as you fidget uncomfortably. Ask your boss what it would take to get the promotion you’re after. The goal is to nail down a plan of action that can bring you to the next level.

4. Make allies

If the position you’re after is in another department, find an opportunity to introduce yourself to the manager you’d like to work under. Tell them about your recent success and mention your interest in their department.

This will pique their curiosity, so they’ll start asking about you. If you’re already on their radar, use this chance to remind them of what you can do.

Standing out at work requires a lot of time and effort. Use this moment to get something that can lead you to the promotion you want.

Better yet, get something that will help you after you get the promotion. Because once you start your new role, you start anew proving yourself. The relationships you build, the skills you master and the feedback you receive will give you ammunition you can use again and again to continue to build your career.

Odalis Salazar Mullins is the founder and CEO of Promethean Brand, a site dedicated to helping young professionals create personal brands that get them the careers they want. You can find her writing about personal branding, career management and the job search on the Promethean Brand blog, OneBio, or on Twitter at @PrometheanBrand.