“Promotability” may be defined as one’s suitability for being promoted. Is it your goal to obtain a promotion this year? If so, how suitable or promotable are you for that next step? Job-seekers and professionals often ask me what steps are necessary for advancement. I have broken my advice down to the always popular “Top 10” List. However, there is one VERY important concept to understand before starting this process. The idea of promotability requires being PROACTIVE. If you are seeking a promotion or trying to position yourself in your career, it is YOUR responsibility to make it happen. The more initiative you take, the better your chances are for future success. Consider these efforts an investment in your career and future self. TAKE ACTION.
Here are 10 things I recommend:
- Decide what role you want next.
The best advice is to think of this along with the terms of the title – what title or titles are you looking to pursue? Is this role in-line with your long-term goals, or will it get you to where you ultimately want to be? You also should look at this in terms of steps and what the progression may need to be. It can be tough since many people do not always know exactly what they want to do, so my advice is to seek clarity. Spend time doing research, talking to others in the industry, and seeing what aligns best with your long-term goals. What do you ultimately see yourself doing? It is important to answer this question first to set yourself on the right path.
- Establish a timeline. How quickly do you want to get there?
In your mind, what is the ideal time frame to make this transition into your promoted role? This requires being realistic and giving yourself ample time to get there. Be careful not to be too hard on yourself if it is taking longer than expected.
- Update and UPGRADE your Resume/CV.
Make sure your resume matches and aligns with the role or roles you wish to pursue. Make initial changes that show your experience and transferable skills line up well with these roles. BUT, it is likely that you may not be exactly where you need to be for this promotion. That’s okay, your CV is a living, breathing document that you will improve, expand upon and update regularly to help position you for that next promotion.
- Be VOCAL.
Make your Manager and internal leaders aware of what your goals are so that they can help support and further develop you. It is likely that they could establish a development plan for you and offer additional responsibilities. UNLESS… you have no intention of gaining that promotion internally. In that particular case, you still need to be vocal but with external sources.
- Seek out mentors.
An ideal example mentor would be someone possibly already in the role that could offer advice to help direct your course. Mentors are key and will offer insights as well as the direction you may not be able to obtain otherwise. It could be internal folks at your current company, but it could also be people outside your organization. A mentor is simply someone in a position to help you get to where you want to be. Internal, external…it may even be beneficial to have both perspectives.
1.Step up – Expand your role.
Start doing some of the things you may need to do in this role to showcase your capabilities. For example: A Medical Science Liaison that really wants to take the next step into an MSL Management role.
Ask yourself – what types of leadership- or management-related tasks can you add to your plate to build experience on this front? You can volunteer to get involved in hiring initiatives, volunteer to be a mentor, raise your hand for projects to assist leadership, etc. Try to grow your skills in other applicable areas (i.e. HEOR or the payer side, communications, writing/publications, conference team lead, etc.).
2. Solve Problems.
The very best way to stand out and get noticed is to be a problem-solver. Take notice of the pain points affecting leadership or your teammates. If you can offer your help and help in solving some of these problems, you will most certainly inch yourself closer to that next opportunity.
3. Network (Internally and Externally).
Spend time each week reaching out to colleagues and professionals in your space to build stronger relationships and grow your network. This should be done internally as well as externally. You never know who you may be able to help, and in turn, who you may be able to be an asset to as well.
4. Show Servant Leadership.
Find ways to “give back” to your organization and your team. Servant leadership is a philosophy built on the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others. Consider becoming a mentor to a younger employee or volunteer to help co-workers with their own projects. Be a trusted resource that others appreciate and rely on.
5. Showcase your GREATNESS.
What makes you great? What makes you special? What are you known for? Some may call them “core strengths;” others may see it as your personal brand. Put your best self and skills on display and others will invariably take notice. However, important to note, it is your responsibility to communicate your accomplishments in a tactful and subtle way with those that need to notice.
To conclude, increasing your promotability is simply a matter of increasing your professional visibility. Again, this is about being PROACTIVE in your career journey. It requires outreach, initiative, creativity, extra effort, and of course, communication. It is about connecting with the right people internally and externally, while also offering assistance and mentorship where needed. This is about standing out, but also being able to communicate your accomplishments in a constructive way. One of my favorite quotes is, “Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be.” Keep that in mind as you plan the next phases of your career and take action each day/week/month to get there.
Good luck on your journey! 😊
About the Author:
Tom Caravela, BA
Tom Caravela has 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Carolan Group and Host of the MSL Talk podcast. Founded in 2002, The Carolan Group is a leading pharmaceutical and biotech search firm specializing in Medical Affairs and Medical Science Liaison recruitment. Tom is responsible for leading a team of expert recruiters and account managers in client expansions for various levels of field-based and in-house Medical Affairs professionals including Medical Science Liaisons, MSL Leaders, Managed Care/HEOR Liaisons, Medical Directors as well as various other medical and clinical affairs roles. With almost 3 decades of pharmaceutical industry experience, Tom is a frequent speaker and Medical Affairs Consultant for clients, advisory boards, and industry meetings. His strategic interests focus on hiring, retention, and career development for the field-based MSL role.