9-Step Guide To Ask for a Promotion

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9-Step Guide To Ask for a Promotion

  1. Be Prepared to Show Why You Deserve a Promotion. The most important part of asking for a promotion is being able to give proof that you actually deserve it, and that you’re ready to take on more responsibility.
    1. Make a list of your most impressive achievements so you can show your boss exactly what you’ve brought to the table. These are going to be your biggest talking points, so you’re going to need to use them to showcase your specific strengths, how you’ve gone above and beyond, and how you want to move forward in the company.
    1. If you have a particular position in mind, tell your boss what it is and why you’re ready to take it head-on. For example, if you’re looking to be promoted from Lead Technician to Project Manager, give examples of times where you’ve managed smaller projects or other workers.

Getting a promotion takes some convincing, so you’re going to have to use those storytelling skills to show your boss that you deserve it.

  • Plan to Discuss It at the Most Optimal Time. The most obvious time to bring up a promotion would be at your annual or semi-annual performance review. This is an easy opportunity for you and your manager to discuss how you’re doing and your potential opportunities for growth.
    • If you’re asking for a promotion outside of the annual review time, send an email requesting a meeting, and make it clear that you want to discuss your progress and potential.
    • You don’t want to blindside your boss, and giving them advanced notice gives them time to reflect on your performance and what they can offer you.

Just try to make sure that you actually deserve the promotion, and that you’re not asking for one just because you have a review coming up. To earn a promotion, you’re going to have to put in the time and the work. Opportunities aren’t just going to get handed to you all willy-nilly — you have to really work for it.

  • Make It About the Company, Not About Yourself. Let’s be honest, your boss probably isn’t super concerned about you as a person, or what they can do to help you specifically — their sights are set on how you perform as an employee and what you can do to benefit their company.
    • When you ask for a promotion, don’t make it all about yourself. Show your manager that you care about being successful for the company, and how you can benefit them in a higher position.

Say something along the lines of “I enjoy working here, but I really feel as though I could make a more significant impact on the company in a higher-level position,” and, as we talked about before, back it up with examples of your accomplishments, and how you can benefit the company in your next role.

  • Whenever possible, use quantifiable data points to show how you’re adding value to the company (and ready to make even more significant contributions).
  • Talk Results. You can’t just come into your boss’ office asking for a promotion or raise without a good reason. And a good reason involves past results, not future promises.
    • Look back on major accomplishments you’ve achieved during your time in your current position. Look at processes improved, positive feedback and performance reviews, and any other metric by which your performance at work is measured and evaluated.

If you can directly point to how your actions have positively affected the company’s revenue, that’ll almost always be the most convincing argument.

  • Demonstrate an awareness of your job’s priorities. If you’re talking yourself up by mentioning how you always keep the fridge clean, but you’re asking for a promotion to senior accountant, you’re doing it wrong.

Not only should you show that you appreciate the most important elements of your current job, but that you already understand what your priorities would be if promoted. Just like applying for a job at a new company, you have to help the “interviewer” be able to see you already performing the role comfortably.

  • Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Coworkers. One good way to get turned down for a promotion is saying something along the lines of, “Well, Johnny got a promotion and a raise — where’s mine?”

Asking for a promotion because one of your coworkers got one is not a compelling argument. Johnny got his promotion like the rest of us — through good old-fashioned hard work.

Plus, demanding a raise just because your coworker got one makes you look like a big whiny baby. You’ll find much more success if you focus on your achievements and what you can do going forward.

  • Get Ready to Negotiate. It’s important to know your worth when asking for a raise or a promotion. In fact, one of the biggest career mistakes you can make is to not negotiate your salary.

Don’t bring numbers into the conversation until you’ve actually been offered the promotion, but you should be prepared with a number on hand when the topic comes up.

Do some research to determine your worth. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t be afraid to ask for too much. Your boss will almost always offer you less than what you ask for, so it doesn’t hurt to aim high.

  • Research the Involved Parties. As you move up the ladder, more and more stakeholders will be involved in hiring and promotion decisions. Have a plan for convincing not only your supervisor, but also their supervisor about why you should get a bump in responsibility (and pay).
    • To that end, it’s important to get a feel for how you’re perceived at those higher levels — your corporate grand-supervisors, so to speak. If you’re able to speak with them directly, try to solicit feedback about how you’re perceived and where you could use improvement.
    • Even the gesture of gathering this information will show that you care about meeting and exceeding everyone’s expectations.
    • At the same time, you can focus on stories of your peers that earned promotions. What was their trajectory and what sort of strategies did they use? Who did they perceive as the most important stakeholder to convince of your capability?

A smart employee learns from their own experience; a wise one learns from the experiences of their peers.

  • Don’t Make Threats to Leave if You Don’t Get a Promotion. Threatening to ditch your job will probably only result in a bunch of eye rolls. To show that you’re ready for a promotion, you need to show that you’re committed to growing with the company and that you’re a mature adult.

Even if you’re being considered for a promotion in the future, mentioning that you’re not sure you can stay in your current position much longer could ruin your chances of moving up. Just accept it gracefully, and move on with your life.

  • Follow Up. If you get the promotion, and even if you don’t, you should always send a follow-up email thanking your boss for taking the time to meet with you, discussing your performance, and ideally, thanking them for the promotion.

If you didn’t get the promotion, make sure to ask your boss when you could revisit the conversation. If you were denied your request based on your qualifications, ask for feedback on what you can do to get experience and improve your skills.

It’s good etiquette to always thank your employer for their time, especially when you’re discussing promotions. Do yourself a favor and send that email so you don’t appear ungrateful.