How to tell if a company is likely to promote you

March 10, 2010 at 3:43 am 1 comment

When companies consider you for a position, they’re looking to see not only what you can bring to the organization today but what you might be able to do for them in the future. And job hunters should be making similar assessments of organizations. A question on your job checklist should be: Is this a place that is likely to promote me in a reasonable amount of time? And if you didn’t initially ask that question when joining your organization but are ready for a promotion, it’s probably time to evaluate the chances for moving up so you can make some future career plans.

While a future promotion may not seem to be a crucial element of a job search (isn’t this very next job the most important?), it should be part of the research you do about an organization. So many job switchers these days (especially those coming off layouts or buyouts) are taking pay cuts and often working in positions that don’t make full use of their skills. One of the few ways to recover your previous salary, title and responsibilities is to get promoted. Yet trying to gain this information — whether you’re job seeking or already work at the company — can be difficult without appearing overly ambitious or just plain pushy.

Hiring experts, however, say there are some strategies for determining the potential for promotion within an organization including:

*Look at a company’s track record of promoting from within for key positions, or at least the positions you’d be interested in moving into. As with many things in life, past performance is a good predictor of future performance. Ask around and find out how people in positions of authority at this company got their jobs — were they promoted (sometimes again and again) from within? If so, they are likely to be more willing to promote from within themselves, as this is part of the corporate culture. If they came from the outside and brought a team with them from outside the organization, they may be more reluctant to promote from within, and you may do better with them if they recruit you later on from elsewhere. Carefully research the path for promotion at this company. If you take this particular job, is it likely to lead to a job you’d want? As always, ask these questions of people within the company, those who have recently left the company and your potential supervisor or manager. Be careful, though, when questioning your prospective boss, to make it clear you are looking at the future — that for now, you are truly interested in the job for which you’re applying.

*Try to make allies with those who have been promoted at the company, especially if they started off in the job you are seeking, or if you’re already working at the company, the job you now hold. If you’re still on the outside and interviewing with the company, try to make contact through your network with those who have done well at this company (and may have already moved on) to see what their strategies were for moving up. Often, a promotion requires good skills in “managing up” without being slimy about it and being viewed as a good colleague who plays well with others. It typically does not involve a lot of obvious self-promotion, which can easily backfire.

*Find out what key managers in the company view as the requirements for promotion. Many good managers believe that before an employee should even be considered for a promotion that they have several excellent job reviews — that, in effect, the best way to get promoted is to excel in the job you’re in. Determine what standards you’d need to meet to move forward. Yet sometimes, individuals who excel in a job — especially in a narrowly defined position that may be difficult to fill — aren’t rewarded with a promotion but kept in their current job because the organization doesn’t want to lose their skills there. If this has been the case in the past with the position you’re seeking, it’s best to know about it beforehand so you aren’t surprised later on.

*Seek to accurately determine what a promotion will mean. Does it come with a significant bump in salary? Or will it just require longer hours and more work? If you’re an hourly worker who may be promoted to a management position, you could actually lose pay in the long run if you are no longer eligible for overtime or other types of compensation you now receive. Also, what kinds of new duties and dedication will the new position require — will you have to be on call all the time whereas you’ve been able to have flexible hours? Especially if you are joining an organization with an eye to a future job, make sure that job is one you’re going to want.

*And this, according to my WordPress dashboard, is my 100th blog post — having started dcworks in early October 2009. I would like to thank the literally hundreds of contributors who have sent along job and freelance leads and topics for me to research, allowed me to interview them as part of my research, sent along links to interesting items, and provided support to me for this blog. This is truly a community effort and I’m happy to keep it up as long as it’s making a difference — and as long as you all continue to send along “content!” So thanks everyone…you know who you are!

*It’s summer internship application and decision season….So for the next few weeks — as application deadlines come up — I’d like to post internship openings with some D.C. area organizations. Please pass these along to college and grad students seeking journalism, communications or public affairs internships…and also email me some good openings for students to pursue.

Today’s internship openings are with the Treasury Department in D.C.’s CDFI Fund. Information and application details follow, but those interested better get going as the application deadline is this Friday, March 12:

Student Summer Internships Available at the CDFI Fund
The U.S. Department of the Treasury offers a variety of student employment opportunities. These opportunities are designed to give students a unique opportunity to witness and contribute to the important mission of “managing the U.S. government’s finances effectively, promoting economic growth and stability, and ensuring the safety, soundness, and security of the U.S. and international financial systems.”

Student employment programs provide an avenue for highly qualified candidates to enjoy the benefits of challenging developmental opportunities within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Located within the Office of Financial Institutions, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is charged with the critical mission of promoting access to capital and local economic growth in urban and rural low-income communities across the nation. The CDFI Fund achieves its purpose by expanding the capacity of financial institutions to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities in the United States.

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 12, 2010.

For more information, including eligibility and application materials, please visit .

*And here are some job leads for those on the hunt to consider:

*The first couple of openings are courtesy of  The Hancock Committee for the States has an opening in D.C. for a communication and research manager:

The Hancock Committee for the States, a new national non-profit organization, seeks a Communication and Research Manager to oversee legislative and political research, as well as write briefs on their findings on a regular basis.

This position will be based in Washington, DC.

Ideal candidates will have the following attributes:

  • 3-4 years of experience on Capitol Hill
  • Knowledge of how things work in Washington, DC – both on and around Capitol Hill
  • Excellent research and analysis skills (on-the-job training as a researcher a must)
  • Ability to distill the research into cogent, concise prose
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Journalism experience a plus
  • Ability to operate digital video equipment and produce video
  • A self-starter attitude, personal responsibility and accountability, and strong organizational skills
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • An understand of and commitment to the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise

Interested parties should submit a résumé and cover letter to

*The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University in Arlington is looking for a marketing communications assistant/coordinator:

The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University’s marketing department is seeking an enthusiastic Marketing Communications Assistant/Coordinator to join the team. We are looking someone who is very hands-on, organized and able to respond quickly to changing deadlines and priorities. The Marketing Assistant/Coordinator will be responsible for executing our email and direct mail campaigns, researching our audiences, and more.

Candidates must have a passion for marketing and for classical liberal/libertarian principles (individual rights, free markets, limited government, voluntarism, and peace). The position requires extreme attention to detail, an entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual curiosity, and good communication skills. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated ability to manage simultaneous short- and long-term projects with minimal supervision and have 1-3 years experience in marketing or email and direct mail.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating email marketing, including developing a timeline and executing campaigns to dozens of distinct audiences
  • Coordinating direct mailings throughout the year, including developing a timeline and liaising with mail houses
  • Measuring and analyzing marketing communications results
  • Managing and updating extensive contact lists
  • Assisting IHS Programs staff with evaluating applications and assisting at conferences

The marketing assistant/coordinator position is an entry- to mid-level position at IHS. Salary is competitive and will be commensurate with experience. In addition, IHS provides exceptional benefits to all individual employees, including full health and dental coverage, a flexible spending account, long-term disability and life insurance, a 403(b) retirement savings program, a parking permit, and one free course per semester at GMU.

The Institute for Humane Studies, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization based at GMU that promotes the study of economic and individual freedom across a broad range of academic and professional disciplines. IHS is located in the GMU Law School building in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, two blocks from the Virginia Square metro stop (on the Orange Line). IHS provides a flexible, professional, open office environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and provides substantial opportunity for professional and personal growth.

Interested parties should send a résumé and a cover letter explaining your philosophical interest in the organization and your salary requirements to

*With a hat tip to (for the next several items), POLITICO in Arlington is looking for a Web calendar editor:

Seeking Web calendar editor
Arlington , Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 12, 2010
Job ID: 1121592

POLITICO seeks a Web editor to produce and manage a daily online calendar of events in Washington. The Web calendar editor will be expected to track and post Washington’s most important political, social and government events.

This critical position requires strong organizational and web production skills. Duties include reaching out to political, government and social sources, as well as preparing all postings for Web presentation (writing entries and maintaining quality control).

If you have a voracious appetite for all things political, keep a meticulous personal calendar, and love working on the Web, this is the job for you.

QUALIFICATIONS: College degree required. Demonstrated Internet publication experience preferred. Proven ability to meet fast-paced deadlines required. Experience working in a political environment – whether in a newsroom or in a congressional office – is a plus.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE Email your resume, a cover letter describing your qualifications, and contact information for three references to, using the subject line “Web Calendar Editor.” No phone calls.

*SNL Financial in Arlington has an opening for an energy reporter:

Company: SNL Financial, LC
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 9, 2010
Job ID: 1154218

SNL Financial LC, a premier news and data company, is looking for a top-notch energy reporter to be based in its Arlington, Va., office. The position involves phone and face-to-face interviews, as well as some travel to attend conferences and other industry events. Energy industry reporting experience a plus. SNL offers unique salary potential – competitive base salary and performance based bonuses – and a great working environment in our Arlington, VA office. Please submit a cover letter of interest, resume and writing smaples to SNL Financial is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

*And today’s last lead is for a g.a. reporter to cover the city of Bowie, Md., for the Gazette’s Prince George’s County news desk:

Company: Post-Newsweek Media
General Assignment Reporter
Bowie, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 13, 2010
Job ID: 1155014

The Gazette, publisher of award-winning community weeklies in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., seeks a general assignment reporter for its Prince George’s County news desk covering the city of Bowie, one of the largest municipalities in Maryland.

Reporting duties include coverage of community events and meetings, breaking fire and police news, features and other community-based topics. Some evening and weekend work required. In addition to filing for our weekly newspapers, reporters contribute to daily Web postings on Reporters will also have the opportunity to participate in multimedia packages, including Web video. The position requires a self-starter with experience in enterprise reporting.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s, preferably in journalism or communications, and possess strong writing and reporting skills. Applicants must have a car.

Send clips, resume and salary requirements to Vanessa Harrington, The Gazette, 13501 Virginia Manor Road, Laurel, MD 20707. By e-mail:

No calls, please. EOE.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Taking a temporary assignment — pros and cons How to help job hunters — and what to ask for if hunting

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Marlene Kennedy  |  March 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Congrats on your 100th post. (And please keep them coming!) Where’s the party?


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