So your career story reads a bit like the bio of a Disney princess: you’ve spent years toiling away being the model worker, yet somehow the bitchy hags in the opposite cubicles have scored all the promotions. It feels like you’ve got a better chance of Channing Tatum showing up in a pumpkin carriage than you have of ever being recognised by your boss, right?

The days of getting moved up for being plain good at your job are over. The only way to snag a promotion is to get noticed – and that can be tough in today’s job market, unless you know how. So we went straight to the top and got some of Australia’s youngest and most powerful players to tell us the five fastest ways to get into their good books and on the ladder to a bona fide promo.

  1. Promote yourself
    It may sound obvious, but ensuring your boss knows exactly who you are is one of the most essential things you can do to get ahead. Executive director of Retail Zoo and founder of Boost Juice Bars Janine Allis says it worked for her and continues to impress her as a manager. “I always made sure my bosses knew my name. When I did something great, I always found a way to – as modestly as possible – let them know it was me. Often it’s with a question: ‘Mr Boss, I have an idea and I want your thoughts on whether it has any merit.’ This initiative always gets my attention.”

  2. Go above and beyond
    Doing that little bit extra is an easy way to let your manager know you want more. Suzi Dafnis, CEO of the Australian Businesswomen’s Network and a regular on the BRW Young Rich List, says her dedication to going above and beyond landed her in the head honcho’s seat at a young age. “Clocking off at 5.30pm and expecting rewards isn’t going to earn you a promotion. In a good job, there’s always a little give and take. When staff are generous with their time and effort, I always notice.”

  3. Have team spirit
    “Aggressive gameplay tactics and credit hogging don’t only rub your co-workers the wrong way, they almost always end up getting caught out by managers,” says employment specialist Jessica Bushby. Sharing credit and showing support for your colleagues, however, will get you everywhere. “Employers today are looking for team-oriented people who can consider the greater good of the company,” Bushby explains. Take time to praise your co-workers’ efforts in meetings and put your hand up to take part in team projects.

  4. Be ambitious
    Got ideas about where you’d like your career to go? Sharing them with your boss is a sure-fire way to get promoted. “Having a list of short- and long-term personal and business goals helps you gain momentum in your career,” says Liz Atkinson, director of marketing company Zest Possibilities and co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Women, an organisation that supports young female entrepreneurs. “It shows you have motivation and focus; that you understand the importance of goal setting and are a person who wants to get ahead.” Don’t shy away from letting your boss know you have big dreams – the people who ask for a promotion often get one.

  5. Care about the whole business
    Standing out from the pack can be a tough task, so it’s essential to show your boss that you can think innovatively. Allis says the trick to getting noticed is to be a proactive employee who thinks outside the box. “Businesses are always looking for great people to help them become great businesses,” she says. “If you’re in a leadership role, we don’t want to see you hiring people worse than you. CEOs like to see amazing employees hiring even better people.”

Image: Ion Chiosea /
Text: Nadia Stennett