Though workplace promotions don't always coincide with the start of a new year, if you've been plugging away since early 2018 in the hopes of moving up a notch on the corporate ladder, then now's the time to have your eyes on a title change for 2019. In fact, if your company holds annual performance reviews late in the year, the topic of getting promoted might easily come up, either because you broach it or your manager does.

Here's the thing, though: If you don't take steps to set yourself up for a promotion in advance of those conversations, you're less likely to get what you want. That's why now's the time to get serious about advancing your career and take steps to make that happen. Here are a few key moves to make over the next several weeks that could spell the difference between getting promoted or not.

Smiling man in business suit


1. Read last year's performance review

You probably received a copy of last year's performance review and filed it away at your desk or in your email. But when's the last time you actually dug up that document to read it through? If you can't remember, carve out some time this week to revisit your review, and make sure you've followed up on or improved upon the points your manager called out.

If, for example, you were dinged for not paying close enough attention to detail, make sure the work you turn in over the next month is impeccable. If you were told to do a better job of communicating with other teams, set up some meetings to facilitate future collaboration. The key is to show your boss that you've grown professionally since that review, and that you've been taking the feedback you received to heart.

2. Wrap up one major project

It's easier to make the case for a promotion on the heels of a major win. If you're in the midst of a high-profile project, accelerating its progress could give you a major talking point if the topic of a promotion comes up at the end of the year. Of course, this isn't to say that you should rush through your work and compromise on quality, just to have something impressive to show off during your annual review. Rather, if you have the potential to fast-track an important initiative, getting it done with flying colors is a good way to make the case for a title change.

3. Volunteer for something new

Volunteering is a great way to stand out at work, and at a time of the year when many of your colleagues will no doubt be trying to clear their plates rather than add to them, stepping up is a great way to show your boss that you're dedicated to the job. You might find that taking on a new project -- one your manager didn't necessarily expect you to oversee -- helps make you a more viable candidate for a promotion going into 2019.

4. Boost at least one important skill

If you're able to show your boss that you've developed professionally over the course of the year, you're more likely to be considered for a promotion. So if you've yet to improve on your job-related skills, consider this your wake-up call to get moving. Sign up for an online course in coding if you're lacking in that area, or spend some time after work and on weekends dabbling in your firm's new accounting software so that you know it inside and out. Making the effort might require some time and sacrifice in the near term, but it could pay off in the form of a new and improved job title once the new year rolls around.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a promotion, and the start of the year is a great time to get one. Follow these tips, and you'll be one step closer to landing the title you've been hoping for.