It's a new year! For many of us, that means we have an opportunity for a raise or a promotion. How do you actually go about doing that?
There are some things you should start right now, and others can wait.
1. Get a journal right now!
It doesn't have to be fancy or large. Any one that is easy to keep handy at your desk or in your bag is fine. Oh, keep several pens. I almost always have 2 in my bag at any moment.
What you want to do with this journal is to write down any win that you can. This may feel odd at first, and you will likely be tempted to discount the contributions you make. Search for them. With practice, this will become effortless. Put the date that the win occurs and some notes about the win and circumstances. This usually fits in a sentence or two.
Now, the main reason for doing this is to record your accomplishments. When the question comes up regarding if you've earned a raise or promotion, you have pages and pages of accomplishments at your disposal to remind people of what you've done. This really does work.
If you have yearly reviews then you'll be walking into a room where people's impression of your contributions will be framed by the most recent impressions. This journal helps correct for that narrowness.
2. Set goals and follow up
Don't wait for managers to do this. Be proactive with setting goals for yourself. They don't have to be perfect, and the process of setting them is the perfect time to work with your manager. They can help shape and guide them into ones that line up with company goals and make sure they aren't too ambitious.
Feel free to be direct about what these goals are for. If I am working towards a specific role or title I tell my manager that is what this is about and ask what goals are appropriate.
Next, do actually put effort into working towards them. With your journal, you can give evidence towards your progress in them. Set meetings every month or every other month just to quickly touch base with your manager about how you are doing with them. This doesn't need to be formal, but regular updates will let them know you are serious and disciplined about accomplishing your goals.
3. Run at the problems everyone else runs from
Everywhere I have ever worked there are problems that give teams and groups pause. Maybe some horrible database issue or a feature that will completely break things. When others begin cataloging all the reasons it'll be too hard or impractical, that is your que to say, "I'll fix it."
Now you have taken responsibility for the problem everyone else has avoided. This does not mean you work alone to solve it. Quite the opposite. The answer exists already in the people around you. Seek their help and advice. Work on it. Talk about what you're finding. Share ideas and ask for alternatives.
When you solve the problem, you will set yourself apart.
Its 2018 and almost all of us have months to get that raise or promotion we want. Good luck!