19 Secrets on How To Stand Out In Your Job & Get A Raise or Promotion

How To Stand Out In Your Job and Get A Raise or Promotion

Most people don’t care about succeeding. They walk through life like zombies. But you’re not like that. You’ve been looking to earn more and do more for a while now. I’ve heard your cries for help.

It can be frustrating when you work hard for extended periods of time without recognition. I’ve been there. You know what it’s like. But no longer.

I’ve curated some of the best advice from experts on how to get a raise or promotion, including Ramit Sethi, Jack Welch, Dorie Clark, Gary Bencivenga, and more. I want to share with you what I learned.

1. Understand Your Short-term and Long-term Goals

When it comes to career development, it’s important to understand your specific goals so that you can properly work towards and measure your progress. If you aren’t clear on a definitive purpose, you are just randomly walking around and it doesn’t matter where you turn up.

Now, you’re probably thinking that you already have a goal of getting promoted or getting a raise. But that’s not detailed enough.

Ask yourself “Where do I want to be in 5 years?” and “Where do I want to be in 1 month?” These are general short and long term time frames to measure yourself again.

If, for example, you want to be the best in the world in marketing, you can now set specific tasks to start accomplishing to get there and measure yourself against in the long and short term, including networking with like-minded marketers, joining a group, or finding a mentor.

Also, if you’re crystal clear on why you want to get somewhere, you’re more motivated to follow through.

2. Deliver Small, Exceptional Results To Your Boss

Small wins are less impactful or impressive than big results. But they’re still useful, though not critical, in determining how your boss assesses your performance.

These are generally small accomplishments, like taking extra time to help a customer and getting a compliment or or going above and beyond with a minor task you were assigned.

When you accomplish small wins, it’s better to get other people (usually coworkers or customers) to tell your boss about what you did rather than doing it yourself because it’s more convincing. It’s easier to lie about what you accomplished but harder to get someone else to lie about what you’ve done.

Always seek out small achievements. But there is something more powerful than small wins. And those are big wins.

3. Deliver Large and Excellent Results

To stand out and get promoted, you have to earn it.

For many businesses, this usually means providing 10x the value you want to get in a raise. This is because one of the key motivations of a business is making more money. This isn’t always the case and shouldn’t always be the case. Sometimes, businesses have objectives that they value more than money. If they do, it’s usually very clearly displayed and emphasized, usually in the culture and company annual report or values document.

Focus on how you can provide more profit for your business.

A bigger result usually requires a bigger project or automation set up. How can you speed up or automate a system in your business to be more efficient? How can it be done better? How can you double the profits in a portion of the business? Take responsibility and do it.

These results have a higher impact and impression on your boss. These things usually increase the bottom line of profits to a noticeable level. This can be something like implementing a system that makes the company more money with less work.

4. Be Socially Intelligent When You Ask For It

Acknowledge any politics going on in the organization. Ideally, you want to let the boss know that you were involved in this. But socially intelligent enough to give some credit to others so you don’t stir the pot unnecessarily.

Ultimately, you want to move or build a team that can put ego, envy, and biases aside. But until then, you will meet people who have these things. Because of this, you will have to be socially intelligent to navigate things. The most socially savvy thing to do isn’t always to take all the credit or offend someone, even if the numbers are the numbers.

Scientists have lost their lives and wealth because they thought the evidence alone would prove their point. The smart ones gained allegiance and favoritism from the King first.

See the book Mastery by Robert Greene for further reading on this. A great example would be the man who discovered that doctors were killing patients by not washing their hands. His boss couldn’t accept that he had killed people and denied it. Rather than being tactful, this man was excommunicated and died in frustration.

5. Take On Responsibilities Not Even Given To You

Many top performers I have encountered have moved up the career ladder by constantly volunteering and taking on responsibilities that were not assigned to them. By doing these things well, you slowly formally gain these duties as well.

Later on, it’s important to point out all the extra things you’ve done in a formal meeting (explained in a later section in this article) so that you don’t just get overlooked and end up with 3 times more responsibilities at the same salary.

6. Show Your Boss What You’ve Done

A boss may be too busy to notice what you’ve done. Once you’ve achieved incredible accomplishments, you want to arrange a meeting with your boss to show proof of what you’ve done and why it’s important. But make sure you are thoroughly prepared. Have the metrics your boss cares about and all the data (and visuals) ready.

Here, communication skills are important, so check out this article too.

The main points are to: be friendly and establish a great mood, have good timing so they’re not in a bad mood, and show prepared research with numbers on why you deserve a raise.

Metrics and numbers shown can be a great thing to show as reasons because it’s rational, logical, and hard to argue with. Sometimes, people are not as logical as they appear. One strategy to get them to understand and agree with your final proposal of a raise is to point out smaller things ahead of that for them to agree with (at least 3). It’s easier for someone to agree to something if they’ve agreed to a few smaller things before that.

If they disagree even after this strategy, you point to all the things before that which logically add up to your final proposal and point out how they agreed with those things already.

7. Have At Least One Review Per Month With Your Boss

Have at least 1 lunch or review meeting per month with your boss. Check up on how you can do better. Ask him or her. It helps you stay on track and set yourself up for career development.

If this doesn’t exist yet, set it up.

A great question to ask is “How can I do to improve?” or “What can I do to be better?” or “What are the main things I can be doing better to achieve the company’s highest objectives?” or “What am I doing great and what can I do better? Be honest.” Take notes on a paper and pen so you don’t forget and can constantly reference it.

8. Embrace Self-Development and Self-Learning

Take time to develop yourself. You want to work towards or have a job you enjoy so this becomes more fun. The idea is to take courses, classes, go to seminars, and learn about your craft so you can become a more specialized expert in the field.

A great starting goal to set is to aim to ask your business to help fund $1,000 of training in courses or other self-development per year. You can position this as less than $100 a month. That’s really not that much for a company.

Many businesses already spend a lot on training. They will be impressed that you want to learn more and could go out of their way to do it for you, especially if you show your enthusiasm and passion for learning this.

9. Form and Maintain Your Network

Reach out to people you want to be like one day with platforms like LinkedIn. Learn from them. Ask to meet for coffee. Show your ambition and passion. No one ever does this and they are often impressed and willing to meet if you do it politely.

If you don’t see anyone you would exactly would like to be like one day, at least look for people with areas of their life that they’ve made successful that you want to achieve success in as well.

LinkedIn and email outreach are gold mines if done properly. There are millionaires and billionaires who are always in the limelight and get 1,000 times the emails and pitches that others do. These include people like Gary Vaynerchuk or Bill Gates.

There are tens of thousands of millionaires out there who keep a low profile that get very few people coming to them looking to intern or learn from them. It’s 100 times easier. 

You can learn a lot and expedite the process of getting to a senior level title by learning from the mistakes and lessons of people who have already gotten there. It’s also a great way of testing the market and knowing what you’re worth on the market. It can prevent you from being underpaid and open you up to new job opportunities or transitions down the road.

It’s kind of like farming: Tough to begin (planting seeds) and must be maintained over time. Don’t just ignore them after the coffee meeting. Stay in touch with a message every 2 to 4 weeks to stay in touch and keep updated so you don’t let relationships die.

Another way of doing it is finding or forming your own networking event. One meetup group I heard of was one called Developers Who Drink where programmers met up once a week for all of the reasons I just listed and more.

A great website to find your like-minded people in your area is called meetup.com It currently seems to be the only good one. Let me know in the comments if you find any other good ones!

A great book on this is called The Startup Of You by Reid Hoffman. The author is a billionaire and cofounder of LinkedIn and Paypal. He devoted a whole chapter to the importance of networks in his own success and that of many of his billionaire friends.

People with great networks spend 1/10th of the effort of an average person on finding a job. They’ve maintained and cultivated such a network that they have many offers from inside connections if they are ever laid off. All they have to do is clearly state that they are looking and it’s done. Sometimes, you bypass all or most of the hiring process too.

10. Leverage Internal Networks Too

Really form relationships within the company as well. Become the connector for different people in your company who haven’t met.

Form lasting relationship with high players.

I used to think it would be an inefficient waste of time to socialize too much during lunch. While that can be true, forming relationships with the right people is very important.

Try to take at least 3 new employees out for lunch a  week. Have some intention with these lunches so that you’re not wasting too much time socializing, but also keep it light so that you’re not too hasty with things.

11. Constantly Develop Marketable Skills

Average people tend to rely too much on job experience. They do what they can to just get around big names, or big brands, or big people. The issue with this is that if you are not developing actual specialized skills, you will be sniffed out or passed over in the long run.

I learned through experience that hard skills are not enough to succeed in the job market. After picking the brains of successful people, my own job experience, listening to interviews of high-profile people, and more, I’ve realized that soft skills, like social intelligence, public speaking, and communication skills, matter.

Having marketable skills that you constantly develop is great way to protect yourself against inflation recessions, tough times, being laid off, or trouble finding new work.

There’s really no true job security anymore. 

If a company or boss finds a way to automate or skip over the process with machines, automation, or something else, they will. The highest performers are constantly outperforming and developing incredible skills that cannot be outsourced or easily replace.

You want to become irreplaceable, invaluable, and a rarity.

An example would be Warren Buffett. If you’ve ever seen him talk, he quickly illustrates his 50+ years of business history developed from reading 8+ hours a day. That’s not something that can easily be found or replaced. It brings in all sorts of higher level, intricate understanding that a machine or average person cannot replace.

I have been developing this skill myself since I enjoy it and I find how valuable it is. If you’ve been following my content for a while, you know how much I read and consume this stuff.

12. Be a Bumblebee

I got this from the personal finance blogger Ramit Sethi. He has a friend who survived massive waves of lay-off’s. When asked how, she said that she was a bumblebee who was always buzzing around looking to help people.

Everyone knew who she was and she was always adding additional value to everyone. That vast network strengthened her value and she became indispensable.

13. Understand the Power Hierarchy and Navigate It Properly. Here’s How…

Career development blogger Ramit Sethi taught me that relationships and networks are just as important to your success as your own paper skills. I used to think that it was a complete meritocracy: people who had the most technical skills won.

It turns out that for a lot of things, your connections, hard work, friendships, and relationships mattered a lot. People like working with people they like.

Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out, a book on standing out in your career, says that you should draw a power tree. What’s a power tree?

It’s basically where you draw out a hierarchy that represent the most powerful people in your organization and connect them with people they are influenced by.

Power Tree

By doing this, you will see who makes the decisions and how you can get in favor with them. One of Dorie’s clients promptly learned that most of the executives in charge didn’t even know who he was and that’s why he didn’t get the raise he asked for.

Start seeing how you can form positive relationships with these people. Turn negative or neutral relationships into positive ones. Take them out for coffee. Help them out. Ask to pick their brain politely. No one reaches out so you will impress them.

Find friends or employees that have influence on them. They may not be in high positions themselves but may have influence for whatever reason. Maybe they were childhood friends. These people could be worth your time to form relationships with.

Observe people’s body language in meetings and overtime, you will be able to identify who’s opinions matter and who’s opinions are considered.

14. Go to or Form a Meet-up group with Ambitious People in the Industry

Find or form a meet-up group with people in your industry because you can share tips to improve your career that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. Ideally, it should meet at least once per week and a minimum of once per month.

This is a casual environment for people in your industry to meet and chat. You can form friends and what it really allows you to do is gauge the market so you know if you’re underpaid and constantly keep developing your skills.

It let’s you be more aware of the industry, what’s changing, and how you can improve.

15. Test Out At Least One New Thing A Week

At least once a week, try doing something differently at your job that may lead to increased performance.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you talk to 10 coworkers a week. Test 1 greeting a week to 5, and another greeting with the other 5. See which is more receptive.

If that one sounds dumb to you, think of a better one.

Let’s say you are a cold-calling salesman. Test 2 approaches to closing the same per week on half the people you talk to.

The person who is constantly testing, learning, and adjusting beats the person who does nothing. Over time, you will overtake them.

However, the key is also to analyze, learn, and take action on your results. It’s useless if you aren’t changing anything based on what you learn.

16. Always Be Helping Out Others

By becoming invaluable to many individuals in the company, you make yourself favored and less likely to be fired. Don’t seclude yourself and only do your own things. See how you can move around and help multiple people in the network of the organization you work at.

These are all valuable connections you want to achieve and developing a great relationship with them may help you in the future in the case of a career transition or in terms of just a good word they will put in to the boss or higher management.

This is the age of the go-giver. Give. Give. Give.

17. Become a big fish in a small pond

It can be really hard to be the best in a world at something. But you can be the best at a specialized skill in your local community or company.

To everyone there, you are the best. Becoming the big fish in a small pond can lead to a lot of opportunities from your reputation in the long run.

18. Save Up. Pay Yourself First.

I talk about personal finance a lot. You should always save and use that money to make more money. You should also have an emergency savings fund for tough times.

Make sure you have at least 1 to 2 years (preferably 2) of savings in case tough times occur. That way, if really tough times hit, and you can’t find a job or there are unexpected medical bills, you are not pressured or stressed out.

The first 10% (or more) of your salary should go to this “Do Not Touch Savings Fund.” That is what paying yourself first is.

19. Understand Your Career Development is a Lifelong Journey

If you jump from career to career every 6 months or less and you’ve done it several times, it looks bad.

But it’s normal in this era to career hop every 2 to 4 years.

As you develop greater skills, other companies fight for you and bring greater opportunities.

As a high performer, you have the duty to ask for what you want and deserve. Your boss wants retain you.

Don’t beat yourself up if your first, second, or fourth job isn’t perfect. It’s about moving in the right direction.


Most people will die without knowing these secrets to getting the raise and promotion they’re after. But not you. Armed with these secrets, you can test these out immediately. And over the course of your entire lifetime, you will rise far beyond your competition.

Good luck.

Are you using any of these tips? If not, I challenge you to leave a comment right now on just one thing you will commit to do from this list immediately.

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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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