How To Get Promoted – Fast!

I won’t share with you a list of tips on how to get promoted fast.

Instead, let me tell a story that hopefully inspires you to grab that quick promotion. Here goes…

It’s sad when you meet someone who is amazing at their job but yet, they’ve been stuck at the same position for years.

Do you know someone like that?

A few weeks ago I met a talented female executive at Boat Quay (let’s call her Rachel) who’s been working as a regional assistant finance director for almost 10 years now. We spoke about her career and I was COMPLETELY blown away by her achievements.

(After writing CVs for 5 years, I’m able to discern far better between the good executives and average ones. Trust me when I say, she was a STELLAR executive. She’s saved her company millions in the past 12 months alone.)

I asked Rachel “It’s been 10 years, why haven’t they made you Asia CFO yet?

She proceeded to give me a string of reasons why. Most of which were due to the management above not recognising her talents.

So then I followed on: “Your company doesn’t seem to value you, why don’t you hop into another company?

Rachel: “I made a few applications but didn’t get any response. It’s ok. I think my current company will make me a good offer soon.

At this point, the lightbulb in my head lit up. It was clear to me. I knew exactly what was holding her back.

You see, Rachel works really hard and is really smart.

But she’s naive.

She thinks that if she keeps working hard and being nice to her superiors, they’ll eventually reward her with that promotion she so badly wants. She doesn’t understand that she needs to FIGHT for it.

Even when she’s out there looking for a new job, she’s doing it half-heartedly. There’s no fight in her.

A few applications” won’t get you that dream job. You need a more systematic approach. You need a plan!

It’s a competitive world out there. Everyone is fighting for their slice of the pie, trying to get ahead. You need to stand up and be counted.

A couple of years ago, I negotiated REALLY hard for my new commission package. At one point, my boss threw down his pen and said “You’re being very difficult”.

I shot back, “No, I’m just a strong negotiator. Once we’re done here, I’m going to go out there, meet customers, and negotiate even HARDER to bring business into this firm. Trust me, you should be happy I’m this tough

He met my sales commission demands. (and I’ve exceeded my sales quotas 3 years in a row. BOOM!)

In the west, they call this having “hustle”. In Singapore we call it being “garang”.

One of my favourite hollywood scenes is from the movie, Troy. Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, is giving a rousing speech to his army just as they’re about to enter battle. You can watch it here.

Brad Pitt’s last line, before they hit the beach head, rallies the troops perfectly. He raises his sword and screams: “Immortality, take it, It’s YOURS!!”

All your dreams, aspirations, goals – it’s all there for the taking. You just gotta want it bad enough. These are easy words to say, and most will agree, but yet people hardly ever back it up with concrete action.

When I first started working at ResumeWriter.SG, I thought producing great content about the right way to craft a CV would be the way to go. I assumed knowledge was the bottleneck – that jobseekers didn’t know how to write a good CV that appealed to hiring managers.

I was wrong.

The biggest bottleneck jobseekers have is insufficient motivation. It’s inertia. It’s laziness. It’s self-delusion.

(Side note: this is an awesome study into how to stop procrastinating)

Many jobseekers lack the drive to achieve great things in their career. They talk about how they want an awesome job. How they’re willing to work hard if someone just gave them the chance to perform. But when it comes to taking action, like investing in themselves, they come up with all sorts of excuses as to why “finances are tight right now” or “market is bad, I’m waiting for it to recover first.”

These excuses are longer than my 3-ply roll of toilet paper. And just like my toilet paper, these excuses are full of sh*t.

I’ve spoken to thousands of jobseekers over the past decade. At the risk of sounding like an old man, I do have to say: I’ve seen it all. History keeps repeating itself. The same jobseekers make the same mistakes over and over again.

It’s the main reason I left to join ResumeWriter.SG – I wanted to be part of the solution!

Excelling at your career is really simple. It boils down to 1 simple mantra:

“Invest In Yourself”

The best people, the most senior guys, KNOW they should continuously improve themselves to get them ahead in the market — and, consequently, get promoted fast.

Getting promoted also involves working harder. But there are limits to that. Singaporeans already work amongst the most hours in the world. The way to get ahead, is to work smarter.

That means raising your productivity. That means self improvement.

This “investment in self improvement” manifests itself in several ways:

  • Paying more for healthier food
  • Hiring a personal trainer / gym membership to stay in high performance shape
  • Leveraging on career experts (including CV writers like us) to get ahead quickly
  • Reading voraciously to get the best knowledge

They don’t make excuses as to how expensive CV writing packages are or how overpriced a particular training course is. They make a commitment to hiring the best help they can get. They make a commitment to BEING the best. And that’s why they’re at the top, earning that 300’000++ SGD annual salary.

High performance executives understand the concept of Return on Investment (ROI) – they know this 500 SGD they’re spending will be recouped several times over when they collect their first paycheque at that new job.

Now I do recognise that it’s easier to invest 500 SGD when you’re earning 300’000 SGD annually. But the mentality can be the same for executives just starting out in the workforce. Investing doesn’t always mean investing money, it also means investing time. Time that can be spent talking to experts or reading books to acquire new knowledge.

Continuously invest in yourself. Get ahead of the competition. I promise you, the promotion will be your’s in no time.

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Adrian Tan

Former Headhunter

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