This post touches on the issue of getting promotions or secondments to other departments or companies (if your work organisation offers this).
I can't really speak on the promotion matter personally, because as a gap student I'm pretty much on my first year and can't really move up. However, during my time I was able to visit the pensions function being that I'm going to study actuarial science at university. And even though I may not have had personal experiences to help you get your promotion, I have taken my time at KPMG to enquire with both managers and partners about how they moved up and how easy it was.
Enquire || Many people make the assumption that promotion opportunities are just handed to them on a silver plate with the specifications and requirements lined up beautifully for them. In reality - they're not. In terms of progression, make it your job to understand what is required of you to move onwards and upwards. You'll find many people have a bucket full of knowledge and advice that they are willing to share with you if only you ask. Some people may want to shy away from looking 'too eager' but the truth is how are you going to set your goals if you don't know what you're working towards? There are people already ahead of you who can save you a lot of time and hassle if only you ASK. There is a wealth of resources, if you are willing to use them!
Experience & Skills || If you haven't already joined the workplace or just like me, haven't been in the game that long, then I'm sure you'll be surprised at how young you can be and be a manager these days! I was so shocked to see managers in their 20's and directors in their 30's because my perception was you had to be at least 50 before climbing to a title with any authority. However, these days it's as much about experience as it is the skills you offer. There's no longer really an age progression as you have school leavers and uni grad's coming in on the same level. What does this mean for you? It means you aren't limited by age but will succeed through experience, determination and enhancing your skills.
Be Seen || I remember speaking to both a partner and a guy in his second year at an accounting firm who mentioned the importance of making yourself known within the workplace. That doesn't mean being the loudest one in the audit room or the funniest. It means taking the time to get to know the people in your workplace and making sure you're well known for the excellence you put into your work. Make a conscious effort to attend socials and get involved in other workplace positions/teams. Sometimes it is as much about your talent as well as being in the right place at the right time, and you increase your chances of being in the right place when people see your face and know who you are.
Try not to suck up || I'm afraid you don't really gain much from sucking up in terms of employment - aside from possibly being taken advantage of and being made fun of by your colleagues. Managers/Directors/Partners want to see someone who shows the qualities required to move forward, not a grade A in empty compliments or a machine who can work 15 hours a day. Many of the times if you over work yourself in an effort to impress people, they end up believing that's a level of exertion you're comfortable with and begin to expect you to deliver those hours every day. This isn't what you want because you will burn out quickly. Remember it's quality not quantity.....