How to Ask for a Promotion

If you’re like the rest of us, you focus on just keeping your job.

But if you’ve been working diligently, taking on more and more responsibility and doing an excellent job, you have the right to seek a promotion.

You want a promotion. You know you deserve it. Now you just have to ask for it.

In this age of organizations having to do more with fewer resources, departments look for leaders who focus on company goals, show that they can take on more responsibility and get others motivated to do their best work.

If you know that you deserve consideration for promotion, don’t let bad economic times stop you. In fact, this might be the best time to get ahead at work. So how do you ask for a promotion?

First: Assess the Voids in the Company

First, you should assess where there are voids in the company. What tasks are not getting attention? What skills do you have that can fill those voids?

You want to present yourself intelligently. Rehearse your approach.

Come in with a strong, solid case for how and what you’ve done to merit a promotion.

Second: Make Your Intentions Clear

Second, you need to make your intentions crystal clear.

Talk to your supervisor and sell him or her on the idea that you are willing and able to take on more responsibility to make sure the company succeeds.

Timing is everything. If you’ve completed a huge project in record time and under budget or saved the company thousands of dollars, ride the wave of positive energy and ask for that promotion.

If your boss is busy and running from meeting to meeting, you may want to save the conversation for another time.

You might try starting the conversation with: “I know the company is restructuring, and fewer people will be asked to do more work.

I’d like to be considered to help with the overflow. Here are the areas where I think I can contribute.”

What if they say “no”?

Handle rejection gracefully. You can say, “wow, that’s really disappointing,” but don’t show anger or get defensive.

Ask for a reason if you didn’t get one, or better still, ask what you can do now in order to be considered for promotion in the near future.

Experts advise you never leave the room without setting another date to talk about it in the future.

You want to set a timeline for yourself to show you have what it takes and to let your boss know how serious you are.

Don’t give up if your boss doesn’t appear enthusiastic. Personnel decisions often require more approval signatures than just your boss.

If your boss simply says no, follow up by asking, “What can I do to put myself in a better position to make this happen in the future?

What skills do you feel I need to develop? Is there anything I can do to increase my contribution at work?”

Get his or her suggestions, so you can act on them. And do act on them. Then in a couple of weeks, approach your boss again and remind him/her about the conversation.

Words of Advice

Do not approach a promotion as a personal opportunity for advancement. That’s obvious and doesn’t need to be stated.

If you get a promotion, don’t expect a huge salary increase. Be willing to negotiate for incremental increases.

Document your successes in taking on additional responsibilities so you can build your case for getting more pay.

For example, if a new job encompasses what it took three people to do, point that out. You’re saving the company thousands of dollars.

If your supervisors tell you the money simply isn’t there, consider taking the promotion anyway. You’ll be more marketable in and out of the company.

Ask your boss when a good time might be to reevaluate your salary. Find out what challenges the company is facing and what needs to happen before your salary can match your new position.

And lastly, don’t do anything that will compromise your future leadership position.

The reality is more talented people are competing for fewer jobs.

If you are serious about seeking promotion, lose the “When you start paying me more, I’ll start working more” attitude.

You don’t want to do or say anything that will compromise your future leadership position.