If you’re reading this, you likely want to ask for a promotion but are unsure how to approach the topic. It makes sense because asking for a promotion can be nerve-wracking, but it’s necessary for career growth.
If you want to know how to ask for a promotion, you’ve come to the right blog. Here’s how you can prepare for the conversation beforehand and how to discuss it with your superiors.
How to Ask for a Promotion at Work
When to Ask for a Promotion
Before asking your superiors about a promotion, ask yourself if now is the time. Below are a few cases where it’s most likely time to ask for a promotion.
Your work has positively impacted the business.
All your work in your current position is necessary for pushing the business forward. Still, if you notice your work is making a measurable difference — you could have an excellent case for a promotion.
Keep a log of all your accomplishments, such as revenue-boosting projects or highly successful campaigns. Furthermore, ask your manager if you have any other opportunities to impact the business more.
You’ve taken on more responsibilities.
Look at your job description and assess whether your current responsibilities go beyond the initial scope of your job.
It’s normal for a job’s duties to evolve, but if you notice your position is growing into more of a leadership or management role — it could be time for a promotion.
Discuss with your manager the expectations for your current position and how they can fit into a higher role.
You’re ready to grow within the company.
If you’ve been in your current role for at least a year or two, you may feel ready to move and apply the experience you’ve acquired to a more significant role. It’s common for companies to hire internally to save time and resources.
So, if you notice a position in your company is open and think you’d be a great fit, speak to your manager about the opportunity.
You may have a greater advantage than other candidates due to your experience and familiarity with the company.
How to Ask for a Promotion at Work
Before asking for a promotion, research the skills necessary for the role you wish to assume and try to have early conversations with your manager about your career trajectory.
Once you feel like you’re ready to take your career to the next level with a promotion, keep the following tips in mind:
Consider your relationship with your manager.
If you’re on good terms then you can likely have a candid talk with you manager about your career trajectory.
The best managers are the ones who know how to create or find opportunities that combine your skills, interests, and challenges, so these are some things to outline before the conversation.
However, if your relationship with your boss isn’t so splendid, or they are not in a decision-making position, look higher. Figure out who the best person is to speak with, even if they work in a different department.
Be aware of the promotion process.
Before you can ask, you must check to see if there is a formal process you and your manager must follow when handling promotions. Do you have to be at the company for a specific time?
Is there a particular way you need to communicate about promotions?
If you need to figure out your company’s formal procedure regarding promotion, or if it has one at all, then you need to ask your manager.
If you’re nervous about asking your manager about the formal process before discussing a promotion, career strategist Jennifer Brick says to remember one thing:
“If you’re not having an open and candid conversation with your boss about your career ambition and the fact that you want to get a promotion, you’re not putting them into a position where they’re going to be able to help you get it.”
Brick says your manager will be best poised to give you the support and guidance you need to advance within the company.
“[Having that discussion] will make your life so much easier,” she says. “And it’s going to increase your likelihood of getting the promotion and a pay increase, whether you have a formal process or don’t.”
Approach a promotion as an investment.
“In essence, you are asking the company to invest in you,” says Patrick Barr, owner and managing partner of Barr Performance Coaching.
“Therefore, we need to see it as an investment decision, and therefore we need to think about it as a business case,” he says.
Barr says that while job promotions impact the individual, taking the “personal” and emotions out of the question and approaching the topic from a strictly business stance is essential.
“The first thing you need to think about is your impact on the company,” explains Barr. “What is it that you deliver? What is it that you bring in terms of value to the organization that makes it appropriate for the organization to pay you more?”
Barr also suggests making the decision easy for your boss because your boss still has to make a case to their superiors for why you should get a pay raise or promotion.
“The best way to do that is to write out, very clearly, the improvements you have made over the last 12 months in your role and the improvement you plan to drive in the future,” he said.
Align your promotion with the company’s success.
Career Coach Brittany Hayles of Hayles Consulting agrees with keeping a highlight reel of your progress and achievement within your role to present to your manager when you’re ready for a promotion.
Hayles also suggests highlighting how a promotion benefits the company and your team.
“In addition to talking about those career highlights and how amazing you are, now align it to say, ‘Because I’ve done all these amazing things when I get promoted, it’s going to give me more autonomy to do even more amazing things.”
Hayles says to focus on autonomy.
“A promotion is supposed to lead to more autonomy,” she says. “It’s supposed to lead to the opportunity to have more control over leadership — whether you’re leading more people or leading more processes.”
So, emphasize moments where you took the initiative alone without being told what to do. This will show that you can be trusted to be more autonomous in your next role.
Essentially, you want to keep your manager in the loop of your career aspirations, and you’ll need to pitch your promotion as something that will benefit the company and not just yourself.
To do this, start keeping track of your progress and achievement as soon as possible, so you can make your case that a promotion will bring the company closer to its goals.
And no matter what — be confident! If you want the company to believe in your promotion, you must first believe in yourself.