Even though every company is different, there are some common grounds as to what needs to be done before you are ready for a promotion. I’ve laid down here what I have learned from my personal experience and from my clients about having a success internal career. Two keywords: preparation and time. That’s what you’ll need.

1 | Know the ins and outs of your job

Being great at your current job is a sine qua non of career advancement: you simply can’t move to another internal role if you are currently underperforming. So before planning your next career move, dedicate your focus and energy to deliver a high quality job, avoid mistakes, and support your coworkers in a friendly, authentic way.

What you can do: set high standards for your work and don’t compromise on that.

2 | Understand what’s expected of you

Not everything that is expected of you is written in your job description. Specific attitudes, behaviours and mindset are important to be successful, and they are rarely described in details. It is crucial you fully grasp them so you do your job with the right approach.

What you can do: develop your awareness and pay attention to the way people interact at work. Identify what works and doesn’t work in your team or department.

3 | Ask your manager and their direct manager too

You need the support of your manager and their direct manager if you want to progress internally. Don’t wait for them to proactively give feedback or start a career conversation. You might not be lucky to have a manager who does, so take the bull by the horns and talk to them about it.

What you can do: in a 1:1 setting, ask your manager and their direct manager too what needs to be done to be successful in your role. Take notes of what they say, because they will be the ones evaluating your performance and supporting your future internal career move. Ask them about career opportunities and what you could do now that will get you prepared for one. Then action what you were told.

Read More: Ask More Questions

4 | Identify what role you really want to get

You shouldn’t go for any promotion that is available. In fact, if you do that, you will look desperate and quickly lose your reputation. Before making any move, reflect on what you’d love to do next, what you would like to learn about, and what would make you happy to wake up in the morning.

What you can do: start a career planning document and continue reading the Institute of you 😉 You can also talk to your manager who might have some ideas where your strength lie.

5 | Learn new skills

Being a top performer in a role doesn’t mean you’ll be a top performer in another. If you don’t have (or don’t show) transferable skills, or if you don’t develop soft and leadership skills, your chances of getting a promotion are very thin, especially for managerial positions. Too often I have seen and heard about top performers failing to become managers. Why? Because they solely focused on being great at their tasks and they didn’t take the time to develop other skills that would make them ready to lead a team.

What you can do: develop self-awareness and mindfulness, build up leadership skills, show that you are learning and taking the feedback.

6 | Network in the company

Maintaining great relationships with your teammates and manager is very important. Once you feel comfortable in your role and you have a clear(er) idea of what you want to do next, start building relationships outside your immediate circle. If you attend meetings with people you don’t know, take that excuse to start a conversation. Have a chat in the elevator. Meet new people at company events. You can also contact people directly and ask to shadow them to better understand what their job entails.

What you can do: find ways that work for you so you can expand your network.

Read More: Do This If You Suck At Small Talk

7 | Be patient

Building up your reputation and skills to get a promotion takes years. Sometimes the career pathing can be faster because the company is growing, but it also means you got to be even faster in preparing yourself. As you work towards your next career move, don’t lose in sight that it’s not just about a title or more money. It’s a process where you will learn a lot more than you’re currently aware of. Take it step-by-step. Don’t do it alone, you need the support of others. 

What you can do: enjoy the journey.