It’s common for companies to promote employees who are already performing at the level they’re being promoted to. The actual promotion is a recognition that your work output is exceeding expectations at your current level, and it’s a nod from the leadership team that you’re ready to consistently deliver results at the next level.
So, in order to assess yourself, you need to determine how you’re doing in regard to what your manager expects from a senior engineer. This is much easier if you’re in a company that has a clearly defined leveling framework. It’s a good idea to read through the expectations for your current level first. Take notes on each criterion in your current level and give yourself a grade for how well you think you’re meeting that expectation.
confusion In almost all cases, leadership will expect you to perform very well at your current level in order to even be considered for a promotion at all. If you’re not meeting expectations at your current level, it’s going to be very difficult to meet them at the next level. Additionally, in some places you’ll be expected to already be performing at the promotion level, not just at your current level.
It’s important to be honest with yourself during this step. Writing down that you’re exceeding expectations for every criterion at your current level doesn’t help you at all. No one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. You’ll be disappointed if you get your hopes up only to hear from your manager that there are still some areas that you need to work on.
Next, do the same thing for the next level up, which should be a senior role. You may feel like you are already meeting some of the expectations for the next level, which is great! But don’t get discouraged if there are areas at that level you still need to work on. If you’re honest with yourself about where you’re not meeting expectations for a given criterion, you will at least have an idea of what you need to work on, and you’ll be able to put together a plan with your manager to build those skills.
What to Prepare
Even if you’re not required to put together a formal self-review of your performance, it’s still a good idea to do it anyway. You’ll be able to use this to build a compelling case for why you think you deserve a promotion, and it will give you some good talking points when discussing the promotion with your manager.
Back in the You’re not an Impostor section, we talked about keeping a log of all your previous accomplishments in a notebook or notes app. This is the perfect time to pull up that document and review everything you’ve accomplished in the last 12 months, because that will give you plenty of ideas.
What should you write down?
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