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Advice / Job Search / Networking

3 Secrets to Making Your Mark After a Big Promotion (or, Well, Anytime)

So, your hard work has finally paid off and you’ve been promoted! Not only that, you’ve already successfully negotiated the terms and celebrated your victory.

Your success is well-deserved, but unfortunately the hard work does not stop when your title changes (buzzkill, I know).

If you listen carefully around the office, you’ll notice that successful people in your organization are often “famous” for one or two things. This is because they have played a part in a few successful initiatives and socialized their achievements throughout the organization. You can do this, too.

You have about 90 days to really make an impact in a new position. Spend your first three months wisely by figuring out what your “claims to fame” in your new role will be. Here’s how:

1. Look For Some (Meaningful) Quick Wins

The best way to show you deserve that promotion is with an early, substantive “claim to fame” moment that’ll set you up for success in the long run. It’s important to find a win that is meaningful to your new team and not just the easiest low-hanging fruit.

When you’re having one-on-one meetings with team members and your boss, try to find out what some of their major pain points are in their day-to-day jobs.

Consider an example where a major grievance from your sales team is that they often have to do a ton of revisions on their client presentations because they get last minute product spec changes from the marketing department. Your quick win is to develop an internal calendar, align all the stakeholders, and implement it across departments. By solving a key issue that affects your team and your boss on a daily basis, you establish a strong relationship with your team and get recognition right away.

2. Look for Opportunities Outside of Your Immediate Role

A great way to differentiate yourself in your new role is to brainstorm new opportunities. For example, if you’ve recently been promoted to account manager working on an established account, share suggestions you have for attracting new business. Pitch your ideas to your manager and offer to lead new initiatives. Since the idea falls outside the scope of your job description, you’ll get brownie points for going the extra mile. It’s a surefire way to get noticed as someone who thinks creatively.

Of course, when considering alternatives outside of long-standing practices, you may encounter resistance. You’ll need to exercise your best judgment to decide how much you can rock the boat without stepping on too many toes in your first 90 days. Unsure whether an idea will be seen as innovative or controversial? Find someone you can trust—be it your boss or a co-worker who will be honest with you—to bounce ideas off of before formally suggesting them.

3. Establish Credible “Name Droppers”

I love this idea because it turns traditional career advice on its head. You’ve definitely heard about the importance of great mentors and sponsors, and rightly so. However, you’ve probably also heard that you should network in three directions, and may be wondering how you can do that if you only focus on seeking advice from influential people.

Well, another very important type of person to have in your social network at work are what I like to call “name droppers.” This could be a sponsor or a mentor, but it could also be a well-respected friend, teammate, or subordinate. A good “name dropper” is someone who will spread the word about your great work within the organization. They help socialize your successes and give you exposure outside of your normal circle.

For example, if you implemented an impressive cost-saving initiative in your department, a friend who works in a different department could troubleshoot for her co-worker by saying, “Jane in marketing launched a great cost-saving program and saved her department 20%! Perhaps she can walk you through the program she developed.” This helps everyone because you (Jane) become famous, your friend becomes known as a networker, and the person who is in the red can steal the secrets of your genius cost-saving program.

What started as a situation where you were driving great results and getting praise within your department is now a situation where you are establishing cross-functional credibility and subject matter expertise. Don’t forget to return the favor for your “name droppers!”

By taking the time in the first 90 days to create some “claim to fame” moments, you’ll make a great first impression, establish credibility, and be off to a great start forming long-lasting professional relationships.

Photo of awards courtesy of Shutterstock.