Reader question: How can I position myself now for a promotion in 18 to 24 months?

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Reader question: How can I position myself now for a promotion in 18 to 24 months?

Lisa’s answer: Congratulations on thinking ahead and allowing yourself enough time to create a game plan to get you from where you are today to where you’d like to be in the future!

Obtaining a promotion isn’t always easy, but if you’re willing to do some analysis, conduct some research and create a career development plan, then you’ll make getting that much-coveted promotion a lot simpler. Here are six steps to follow.

Analyze your current performance. Doing so-so work won’t get you promoted. You’ll need to do outstanding work that will get you noticed by management. Look at the results you’re achieving in your current job and make sure you’re meeting or exceeding all of your manager’s performance expectations. Then, look for ways you can go above and beyond the normal requirements to demonstrate how you add value to the organization.

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Conduct research. Find the job description of the position you want (your promotion). If the job isn’t currently posted, ask your HR representative for the job description or look online to find that job or similar jobs at other companies.

Evaluate the job requirements. Read through the job description(s) and the list of requirements (for the promotion you want). Conduct a gap analysis by comparing each requirement to your own skills, knowledge, experience, education and certifications. Figure out all the gaps — the areas where you don’t meet the minimum requirements — and write them down.

Create a career development plan. For every gap you identified, determine your plan on how you’ll overcome it. For example, if you don’t meet the minimum education requirement, could you go back to school in the evenings to finish your college degree? If you don’t have enough years of people management experience, could you volunteer to lead project teams to gain more experience and prove your leadership skills?

Obtain feedback. Seek out others who are currently in the job you want and find out what it took for them to be successful. Then, add any additional items to your career development plan.

Meet with your boss. Schedule time to meet with your manager and discuss your career aspirations. Share your career development plan and ask for feedback on any other actions you can take to better position yourself for that future promotion. Ask for his or her support in your quest to continue learning and developing in your career.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.