Contrary to popular belief – and the photograph above – promotions are not handed out on silver platters. Getting a promotion is a combination of skill set, training, attitude, and a number of often intangible factors. Bottom line: promotions and raises aren’t just handed out because employees feel they deserve them. Employees need to prove their value to any company, over time, and on a consistent basis.
I discussed the value of learning everything there is to know about your position so that you have developed a solid skill set. But once you’ve learned “the basics”, what next? I am a huge proponent of constant training and education. There is no reason why you should not be working on improving your existing skills through training, re-training, and training others ALL THE TIME. This may mean searching out classes, courses, seminars, or even new reading materials. There is a wealth of information to be gleaned from a multitude of sources, ESPECIALLY in the field of Security. You should ALWAYS find ways to improve yourself, some that you might not consider “relevant” to your position: business classes, CPR classes, learning a foreign language, or even learning a new skill (bartending, anyone?). You never know what insights you may learn from doing something “outside” of your realm.
Along with those classes, certifications and licensing should NEVER be overlooked. Everything from chemical weapon sprays, to tasers, to exposed handguns, to batons, to EMT certifications…everything relevant to Security should be in your bag. Every state in the U.S. has some type of certification or licensing requirement to work in every field of Security. If you are reading this and aren’t licensed, you need to do it ASAP. Not only are you a huge liability to your company, but you are probably working illegally.
Another perk of licensing, training, and certification is that is shows your employer (or potential employer) that you are SERIOUS about what you do. It shows initiative, drive, and a genuine interest in your chosen field. If two resumes come across my desk, both with equal amounts of work experience, but only one has training and certifications…I’m probably going to go with the trained candidate.
We have entered into an age of entitlement in many companies. Workers expect to be advanced merely due to the fact that they show up for work. Throughout your career, you need to evaluate what you are bringing to the table for you company. Oftentimes, your direct Supervisor will NOT tell you what you are doing right, because they are concerned that THEY are not doing things right. Take a long look at your strengths, weaknesses, skills (or lack of) and decide what YOU need to do in order to advance. Can you be self-critical? You need to be in order to evolve as a person and as an employee.
As for moving up that ladder, which rung is the right one for you? Are you aiming directly for the top or are you content with moving in smaller steps? Can you justify a huge jump up the ladder? Have you considered what it actually means to make that jump? If you are wanting to move up and have the notion that a promotion means a little bit of responsibility for a lot more pay…think again. More often than not, that money means a lot more work and a lot more responsibility. Are you ready for that? Be honest with yourself. Many people discover – way too late – that making the move up was a big mistake.
Attitude and approach.
A strong work ethic.
A strong skill set.
A desire to learn new things.
The ability to take criticism and learn from it.
Add these things to your list of “must do’s”. Only then can you begin to consider advancing in your career or asking for that promotion.
Until next time…