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5 Surefire Tips to Get that Promotion, by Laszlo Bock of Google

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1 - Get feedback all the time.  

You know who knows what it takes to get promoted? The person who has the power to give you that promotion. Ask your boss what you would need to demonstrate to get promoted. Ask her advice on how to get there. Then do exactlythat and circle back. 

But don't be a pest. Make it a natural part of working together by sprinkling these questions onto your regular interactions. When you come out of a meeting, ask, "How did that go?  What should I do differently?" Every six months or so ask, "What skills should I be developing? What evidence do you need to see that I'm growing and having impact?" 

Checking in let’s you know where you stand ... and if you don’t get promoted, you can point out that “I did everything you said was required.” That's not a fun conversation for you or the manager, but sometimes it's the only way to uncover why it's been five year since your last promotion. (And see #5 below for more on that!)

Ask your co-workers for feedback as well. Use them as your personal career coaching panel. When you’re coming out of a meeting or wrapping up a project, ask, "what worked well?"  "What could have gone better?" Those are two verysimple questions, but you’ll be surprised at how powerful the feedback can be when you ask for it and express a willingness to work on it. 

2 - Solve your boss’ problems.  

Figure out the biggest problems your boss has and solve them. Seems obvious, but are you today working on your boss' biggest problem? 

I went into my first one-on-one meeting with Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, with grandiose ideas about the kinds of programs we could develop to better manage careers and help senior leaders develop. Eric wasn’t particularly interested in my strategic vision. He had more pressing concerns.

Google had almost doubled from about three thousand people in 2004 to 5,700 people in 2005. Over the next year, Eric knew, we were going to do it again, ballooning to almost 10,700 people. We needed to go from hiring fifty people each week to almost a hundred, without compromising quality. This was the biggest people challenge we had.

I’d made an amateur mistake. Before Eric would entertain any esoteric ideas, my People Operations team had to deliver on Google’s most important issue. I learned that to have the privilege of working on the cool, futuristic stuff—like making sure everyone had an awesome manager—you had to earn the confidence of the organization.

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