In general, most employees hope to get promoted eventually. A more prestigious title, higher salary, recognition of abilities, and excitement at the opportunity to use your talents in a new role is appealing to most people. Still, there are countless numbers of hard-working, capable professionals that never get the opportunity. One common obstacle is a lack of planning.

The first, and most important thing that should be included in your plan is your goal! Sounds simple, but few people give much thought to what job they hope to get. They assume they’ll just apply when an appealing position opens up; this approach alone rarely leads to success. Though there are always exceptions, the saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?” applies here.

Once you have your target job in mind (whether it’s currently open or not), the next step is to evaluate the requirements. Are there any qualifications that you’re lacking? If so, the next step in your plan should be to acquire them. Attend courses after work, offer to take on new responsibilities on the job, or pick up additional skills in a volunteer role.

The final part of the plan is to make sure people know about you! You may be a perfect fit for a position, but decision makers need to know this. Of course, you can sell yourself in the resume and interview. But, give yourself the edge (especially over external candidates) by being seen in action! Of course, you don’t want to brag, but there’s nothing wrong with casually mentioning projects you’re working on or asking others for their input. Not only does this increase awareness of what you do, it gives you an additional opportunity to network internally.

Creating a resume that showcases your relevant qualifications and preparing for the interview are topics that deserve articles in themselves. One word of wisdom is this: even if you seem to be the front-runner for a position that opens up, put the effort into these final two steps. These are additional opportunities to sell yourself on your terms, and let the decision makers know why you’re the perfect person for the job!

Even when you can’t control the circumstances, keep planning your strategy! You’ll then be prepared when an opportunity presents itself. Remember the quote, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Author's Bio: 

Charlotte Weeks, CCMC, NCRW, CPRW is an executive career coach and executive resume writer. She has a background in human resources and is president of The National Resume Writers’ Association. Ms. Weeks specializes in association executives, providing them with all the tools necessary to succeed in their careers. She is the author of the upcoming book “I Want a Job in an Association, Now What?? A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society.” For details and to get the special report “How to Answer the Five Most Difficult Interview Questions,” visit