Climbing the greasy pole

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If hiring hits a hiatus, the only way up will be internally. Time to engage in some strategic politicking.

This should be a long term endeavour, but there's no time like the present, and with banks set to start announcing managing director and vice president promotions next month, a bit of last-minute schmoozing is unlikely to go astray.

Here's how to do it:

Get a mentor

"Often you need someone who can help you navigate the path to the top," says Graham Ward, executive coach at Amandla Consulting and former co-head of pan-European equities trading at Goldman Sachs.

Get a sponsor

Like mentors, sponsors are more senior than you. Unlike mentors, who mainly offer advice, sponsors will actively place you in the way of interesting opportunities. They can therefore be helpful to have, says Ward.

Don't be nasty

Yes, you'll need to play politics, but that doesn't mean you need to put other people down to get ahead. "If you play negative politics you'll get a short term wind and then you'll be found out," says Ward. "In the long run it counts against you."

Hit the bar

It will help to have a large network within your organisation, says Michael Moran, chief exec of talent management company Fairplace. This usually means getting to know colleagues on a social basis: "You need to put in a lot of after-hours attention," says Moran.

Find a heavy hitter

This is a bit like having a sponsor, except they can be at your own level (we think). "Very often it will help if you associate yourself with a rising star," says Moran. "Identify the next big hitters - they will take their friends with them on the way up."