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Many people have asked me if it is possible to get a promotion during a pandemic. The answer is “yes, it is possible" and “yes, I know people who have earned promotions/advancements during our current COVID crisis."

So the big question is “how did they do it?" As most people know, there are several factors that go into a promotion such as performance, timing, luck, opportunity and more. Here are some of the things to do to try to obtain a promotion during these challenging times:

  1. Make yourself visible – Offer to work on projects that require their skills, and show up for meetings looking professional and interested.
  2. Present your case – Sometimes people think everyone they work for is nefarious. That is simply not the case. Yes, there are bad people everywhere, but there are good people everywhere too. Keep track of your accomplishments and in a “non-braggy” way make sure people know about them. Show your worth inside and outside of your organization.
  3. Ask for the promotion in a meeting or call with your boss by presenting your case described in tip #3.
  4. Stay active on social media when appropriate - Of course, some jobs do not lend themselves to social media, such as intelligence jobs, but many others do. When allowed by the employer, post on work and private social media accounts. And obviously, make sure to keep everything professional.
  1. Be lucky - Sometimes, timing is everything, so you need to try to create your own luck by keeping track of how things are going in your organization. Some offices will only consider promotions during specific evaluation periods. Be on offense! Do not be a church mouse waiting in the corner for something to happen!
  2. Avoid office gossip and office cliques - This isn’t high school anymore!
  3. Good luck - If you get your promotion, great, congratulations! If not, don’t sulk. Keep trying and know there is a next time. Keep a positive attitude and be someone that everyone wants to emulate.

Margaret “Mag” Gottlieb is the Career Director at the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University. Connect with Mag on LinkedIn at or contact via email:

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