LinkedIn reveals best time to ask for a promotion

If you didn’t get promoted last month, don’t lose heart – you still have eight more months this year to convince your boss that you’ve been working smart and hard, according to LinkedIn.

The online social networking site that focuses on career-based connections recently released a survey that indicates January, September and April are the top three months for professionals in Canada to get promoted within their company.

The global survey tracked promotion trends in companies of all sizes in the information technology and sciences, higher education, management consulting, and retail industries. By analyzing more than 90 million LinkedIn member’s career histories, the site was able to observe the evolution of labour market trends and discover some “surprising, interesting or simply fun insights,” according to Monica Rogati, senior research analyst for analytics at LinkedIn in San Francisco.

For decades, January has been the top month for promotions, but the month is losing its claim to fame as more promotions are starting to be given out evenly throughout the year, Rogati said in a recent blog. “During the 1990s, 22 per cent of the promotions occurred in January, but in the most recent decade that number decreased to 16 per cent.”

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The LinkedIn analyst attributes the trend to the rise of so-called millennials (individuals born in the 1980 and 1990s) in the workforce.
Compared to their parent’s generation – the baby boomers – their promotions are less concentrated in January and instead spread more evenly throughout the year, according to LinkedIn’s findings.
What’s behind the shift? “Perhaps millennials have outlandish expectations of the workplace and are asking for promotions throughout the year,” said Rogati.
LinkedIn is also looking into the following possibilities:

  • Do baby boomers hold more senior positions that are budgeted on a yearly cycle compared to the more junior positions held by millennials?
  • Could it be that millennials are over-represented in industries where fast career progression is the norm? If so, is it a matter of correlation or causation?
  • Are titles split across more “levels” these days? Has the labor market adapted to a workforce that demands more frequent incentives and feels a constant need to level up?

If you have any insights you’d like to share with LinkedIn, you can answer their poll here.

What can IT professionals do?

The LinkedIn survey results should serve as a heads-up for IT professionals who are on a career movement mode either within their company or outside of it, says Phyllis Reardon, president and life coach at CoachPhyllis.com a professional and personal coaching firm.

“If you’re on the move the question you should ask yourself is ‘how to I take this information and make is work for me?’” said Reardon.

Simply put, she said, “You’ve missed January so you now have eight more months to get yourself in shape until September.”

January has traditionally been a promotion month because it is the start of a new year, said Reardon. For 2011 it is also seen as the month when the economy’s recovery is starting to take hold.
Apart from ushering in fall, September is also seen as a refresh period for many companies and April is generally the beginning of a new fiscal year.

Related story – How to use free LinkedIn company profiles to find the job you want

But whatever month you have your eyes locked on for your big move, Reardon said, LinkedIn can be one of your tools to get noticed by higher-ups in your office. “Getting ahead in your career means getting noticed, a LinkedIn profile is the best way to project a professional image you want people to associate with you.”

“In recent years, LinkedIn has become an indispensible tool for talent search firms looking for ideal candidates to match with a career position,” said Jose Mari Maravillas, of MTM Staffing Solutions.

“By design, sites such as Workopolis and Monster work best for job hunting. The information on these sites benefits recruiters. But for head hunting purposes, LinkedIn provides the best information set,” he said.

As LinkedIn is primarily a networking site, Maravillas said, profiles on the site do not just contain a person’s job history, they also link to his or her friends and professional associates, groups, third party recommendations, as well as their thoughts on topics connected to the concerned position.

“With traditional job sites you typically get what’s on the person’s résumé. LinkedIn offers you a more precise picture of the person,” Maravillas said.

LinkedIn has also made job hunting easier. For example, if head hunters do not have the name or a formal introduction to a potential candidate, they often have to research industry periodicals to identify top-notch executives or cold call companies to get their executives’ names.

With LinkedIn this convoluted process can often be avoided. Members can become part of LinkedIn groups and build up their network from there.

Get your LinkedIn profile promotion-ready

Many people see LinkedIn as an online version of the resume, but Reardon of CoachPhyllis.com says LinkedIn is much more than that.

“While a resume is a static document, LinkedIn is a dynamic document that can be changed anytime to reflect changes in your career, linked to social networks and show off various facets of your personality,” she said.

Reardon said there are several simple steps IT professionals can prepare their LinkedIn profile.

Keep your profile up-to-date

Make sure your most recent and relevant accomplishments are included or highlighted in your profile. Nothing says you’re behind the times more than a profile which has a decade-old assignment at the top of your accomplishments list.

Add meaning to your entries

If there is a specific position you are gunning for, mention responsibilities, duties, accomplishments or training that will be relevant to that job. Highlight your strengths and your worth and contributions to the company.

Request pertinent recommendations

Start seeking out recommendations from people whose position or reputation is relevant to the position you are targeting. Seek out people who can speak well of your good qualities and accomplishments.

Related Article: Five ways to get, and use, LinkedIn recommendations to land the job you want

Use those links

LinkedIn allows users to link their Web pages, blogs, Tweets and other social connections. If you think they have commendable and relevant content to the position, link them to your profile, said Reardon. Be sure though that these links do not contain content that you don’t want your future bosses to see.

LinkedIn groups and discussions

Show your interest and your mettle by joining the various LinkedIn professional groups that relate to your profession. Join discussions and contribute meaningful advice or comment. “More and more, head hunters and HR people are listening in on these channels,” said Reardon.

Related Article: Top 5 LinkedIn Groups for savvy information workers

Thinking beyond LinkedIn

Of course you can’t entrust your career to LinkedIn alone. Reardon says good old-fashioned face-to-face relationships and actual labour still works.

Reardon says that career changers should study the position they are targeting. Make sure that you have the skills and knowledge that the job requires.

“If your honest and thorough assessment reveals that you are deficient in one area, get some training, bone up on information or brush up your skills before you face your boss,” she said.

For people on an upward mobility mode, Reardon suggests getting a mentor. This person would ideally be someone from within your company who can “show you the ropes and guide you along your career path.”
Related Article:How to find a mentor who can help you be more successful

She said many companies have formal mentorship programs where managers take on younger employees but you can also find one in a more “casual manner.”

“Try to identify a person who is in a position that you would someday want to be. Find someone who is open to helping other people out and willing to open career doors for them, they are what I would call ‘natural mentors’,” said Reardon.

Nestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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