How To Get to the Next Level Professionally

Julie Batliner
Julie Batliner

If you’re looking to get promoted, instead of focusing on the title change, put that effort into your work. If you focus on collaboration and doing great work, you’ll make your promotion a no-brainer for your boss and keep your friends along the way.

Here are 10 tips for PR pros eager to get on the fast track.

1. Instead of asking for the promotion, ask for more responsibility. Don’t only do what needs to be done, but look beyond that at what could be done next or how something can be made bigger or better.

Doing more than your job description showcases that you are already working at the next level, helping you get promoted sooner rather than later.

2. Make yourself critical to the success of the business. We are in the business of client relationship management and outcomes.

If you endear yourself to your clients—internal or external—by doing great work that makes you indispensable, it’s hard for anyone to argue with an opportunity for a promotion. And your peers have to respect that, too.

3. Influence and help others. The most successful people empower others to be successful and have built allies by being a team player. Operating this way exhibits self-confidence and the ability to lead with positive momentum in a team-oriented manner.

Taking all of the credit by touting what you’re doing and not giving the team credit may get you attention in that moment, but it won’t build long-term trust as a capable leader of teams.

4. Be aware of the politics, but stay far away from them. It’s important for you to be aware of the underground conversations, the agendas of others, the bosses who don’t agree with each other or the grudges that some hold. But don’t get in the middle of them. Getting involved in the politics can cause you to lose your objective decision-making ability.

5. Sometimes you’ve got to throw down the velvet hammer. Effective leaders deal with tough situations and conflict constructively, respectfully and in a timely manner and then move on.

Don’t be afraid to share unpopular solutions or feedback, if it’s the right thing to do. And when it comes to debates and decision-making, after you’ve listened to all of the viewpoints and considered them, sometimes you have to make the call even if it’s unpopular.

6. Where there is challenge, there is opportunity. Often difficult situations can give you the opportunity to create solutions and get noticed.

Whether it’s doing extra work covering for a colleague’s maternity leave or taking charge of a disgruntled client account, you’ll show your stuff and earn the right to make it to the next level.

7. Be curious. Be open to determining the areas in which you are weak, and ask to learn. Filling the holes in areas of weakness will make you a stronger overall public relations professional.

8. Keep track of outcomes, not just outputs. You can be a great project manager, but if there are no business results, it’s not going to land you a promotion. Set key performance indicators, and package and merchandise return on investment. Copy your boss on these outcomes.

They want to know about them as well.

9. Find a sponsor and a mentor. What’s the difference? A sponsor is someone in a position of influence who can showcase your performance. A mentor is someone who can teach you along the way. It’s important to have both.

10. Be an authentic team member and leader. We’re all aware of the tenets that made famous leaders who they are. But if we try to replicate those, it will never be genuine and it won’t be contagious. Being authentic will never be the wrong decision in the end.

Keeping these 10 things in mind while following your instincts will help you keep moving up the ladder.

And if it doesn’t work as fast as you’d like, keep pressing ahead. Sometimes the timing and circumstances just aren’t right, and the right situation is around the corner.


Julie Batliner is managing director at Spong. She can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the July 21, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.