A new year often heralds a new incentive for getting off your backside and going for that promotion.
It’s the time of year when everything suddenly looks different; either the rose-coloured spectacles have come off, making you realise there’s more to life than being stuck in a job you hate, or you have a Damascus Road moment and realise you’re destined for greater things, and now is the time to go for them.
Either way, when you get to that point, there are a few things you can do to make sure that when you apply for your promotion, you really are ready.
What do you want?
It’s very easy to say, “I’m going to apply for a promotion”, but there are lot of things to consider in the process. Are you looking for an internal or an external promotion? If the latter, what type of school do you want to move to? Which location? What form entry? Do you want to lead a big team or a small team? Is earning a bigger salary important to you or are you willing to take a role that may be in a smaller school, where the salary is similar to what you’re currently earning, but there is more scope for you to develop the role?
These are all important things to think about. The Job Search criteria document that I’ve created may help you to become more focused in your thinking and consider all the possible options.
Why do you want it?
Knowing the ‘why’ keeps you focussed and will help you to be really clear about the ‘what’. If your main motivation for a promotion is money, you need to consider how that will impact your performance. Is it about career progression? Do you have a particular path in mind? If so, will the ‘what’ enable you to make progress on that path?
Being clear on the ‘why’ also helps you to ensure that when someone tries to tell you that you’re making a mistake, or this isn’t the right time, you’re able to articulate a response which shows you’ve thought about it and it’s not a random idea you’ve plucked out of thin air.
Being clear on the ‘why’ will also help you to remain motivated throughout the application process. Getting a promotion isn’t always a walk in the park; you have to be able to prove yourself to a panel and that can be tough going. You may face rejection, discrimination or simply not find what you’re looking for at that point in time. If your focus is clear it will help you to persevere when they going gets tough.
When do you want it?
The time to move on from your current role is a personal choice and depends on your circumstances. Some people prefer to see the academic year out, whilst others want to get out as soon as possible.
Obviously, a lot depends on what vacancies are out there when you start looking. But you need to bear in mind that employees will stipulate a start date and although you can negotiate, they won’t hold out forever; regardless of how good a candidate you are.
The ‘when’ may also depend on how much experience you currently have for the role you’re applying for. Do you need to stay in your current role for a few more terms in order to get a little bit more experience under you belt, or can you confidently match most of the criteria on the job description and person specification?
There is no set length of time for being in a role when it comes to applying for a promotion. It’s all about the experience you’ve gained and the impact you’ve made.
Think about the impact you have already made
When you start filling out your application form and supporting statement, you need to have all the information at your fingertips: details of past employment, who you’re going to ask for a reference (makes sure you ask them before submitting the application!) and what impact you’ve made in your current or previous roles.
It’s easy to forget all the things you’ve done, so noting them down at the end of each half term is a great way of keeping a track of the big and little things you’ve done that have made a tangible difference in the school you’re working at.
My End of Term Review document will help you to identify what you’ve done and the impact it’s had. There’s also space for you to note down the CPD you’ve undertaken during that term.
When will you tell your line manager?
As well as letting your referee know you’re putting their name on your application, you should also let your direct line manager know that you’re applying for a promotion and timing is everything where this is concerned.
Regardless of how well, or how badly you get on with your line manager, your school protocol and common courtesy (even if they don’t always reciprocate that courtesy!) should dictate that when you’ve made up your mind, you let them know you’re applying for a new job.
Depending on your relationship with them will determine how much or how little you reveal, but sometimes, just putting it out there can cause some leaders to suddenly realise the talent they have in front of them. It’s not unusual for a role to be offered, seemingly out of nowhere, that’s ideal for you. At this point you’ll need to go back to the first and second tips – what do you want and why do you want it?
Informing your direct line manager can also benefit you personally. They may know of vacancies that fit what you’re looking for or can point you in the direction of someone who might be able to offer alternatives, like a secondment.
Having that conversation with your line manager also gives you someone you can bounce ideas off; they may be able to help you with your supporting statement or interview techniques. Make the most of the experience you have around you.
Whatever the case, once you’ve decided to go for that promotion, have the courage of your convictions. Believe that you have what it take to make that move and when the opportunity comes, grab it with both hands.
If you need someone impartial to talk to about your next career move , feel free to book in a 1:1 session with me.