It's almost that time of the year again -- the time when managers sit their employees down and discuss all the things they've done right and done wrong. It's usually known as the year-end or annual review, and it can be both a nerve-wracking and exciting time if you're convinced you have a shot at getting promoted. But rather than just bide your time this November as you eagerly await December's news, you can use the next four weeks or so to increase your chances of landing the promotion you want and deserve. Here are a few key moves to make this month, before your boss settles on a decision.

1. Review your employee feedback from last year

If you participated in an annual review last year, chances are your boss left you with some concrete feedback that you either wrote down yourself or received in writing. If you've been neglecting that feedback thus far, now's the time to study and incorporate it as much as possible -- before your manager makes a decision about your job title going into the new year.

Smiling woman leaning against a brick wall with a group of people in the background


Imagine your feedback mentioned your tendency to stay quiet at meetings rather than be an active participant. If that's the case, then be sure to speak up in meetings over the next few weeks, even if it means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. You're more likely to get promoted if you show that you take manager feedback seriously.

2. Volunteer for a new project

Managers like to see employees take initiative and push themselves to do new things. So if a new project comes to light in the next few weeks, be the person to volunteer to spearhead it -- even if your plate is already pretty full. Not only might that project serve as a key opportunity to prove your worth, but the fact that you're volunteering for it is likely to stick out in your boss's mind as he or she sits down to write your year-end review.

3. Slap a smile on your face

It may seem simplistic, but having a good attitude can go a long way when you're looking to get ahead at any given company. Even if you're typically just as cynical as the rest of your colleagues, over the next bunch of weeks, make a point to exude positivity in the presence of your coworkers and boss. If you're presented with a major assignment and a somewhat unreasonable deadline, be that person to embrace the challenge rather than grumble about it. Your manager is apt to notice.

4. Prepare for your upcoming year-end review

Chances are, your boss will have decided whether or not you're getting promoted before you sit down for your annual review. But that doesn't mean he or she can't make a last-minute change. That's why it's crucial to go into that meeting prepared with a list of your accomplishments and contributions for the year. If it turns out you're not being promoted, you can present that data to your manager and argue your case. But if you don't put together those details in advance, you're likely to jumble at least some of them on the spot -- especially if you're dealing with the emotions that come with not being offered the promotion you wanted.

Keep in mind that if you don't end up getting promoted this year despite your best efforts, there's no reason you have to wait until 2019 to land a better title. Express your disappointment politely and professionally to your manager, and ask for a mid-year review sometime in 2018, during which the possibility of a promotion can be discussed. If you're courteous and composed in your reaction, your boss will be more likely to take your request to heart.

Finally, just because you don't land a promotion this year doesn't mean you can't go after a raise. Even if your boss insists that there's no better role to move you into right now, or that you still have work to do to snag that promotion, a raise can serve as a neat little consolation prize -- and you shouldn't hesitate to ask for it.

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