How to Ask for a Promotion

For many employees, each job is a temporary foothold in a ladder to their top career ambitions. No matter the career aspiration, at some point, you may find yourself wanting more or at least something different.  But, how do you go about asking for that promotion?  Following are a few tips to help you have a better chance at getting that promotion.

Timing

The ideal time to ask for a promotion is during your annual performance review; it’s a built-in opportunity.  Also, the ideal time to ask is when your company is flourishing. Covid has changed much of the business landscape.  Don’t be scared off during these unpredictable economic times.  Even in tough times, smart employers understand that their employees are one of their most valuable assets.  A few things to consider about your timing to pitch for a promotion are the following:  

  • Have you been on your current job for at least one year?
  • Have you accomplished the goals set before you and your team?
  • Have you expanded your skills and capabilities in the past year?
  • Have you helped solve any problems for your team or the company as a whole?
photo of tooth wheels with the words, Goal, timely and realistic written the metal surface
Timing is everything but don’t wait too long

Be Organized

Show respect for your ‘pitch’ by arranging for a professional setting. Send your manager a calendar invite so they have set aside time to give their full attention.  In the invite subject area you can write: Status of Career Progression.  You will want to be organized for your meeting. Prepare notes with talking points.  Make a short list of your greatest accomplishments. Know what you are asking for. Do you want more power, money, managerial responsibility, learn new skills, do you want to create a new role? Write down how your skills set aligns with the objectives of the new move you want to make within the organization.  If you are merely seeking an increase in pay, do research through salary.com or via glassdoor.com.  Be prepared to give an actual number when asked what is your compensation expectation. 

Checklist, red pen with check marks on the list
When asking for a promotion don’t try to wing-it

The Discussion

Start your request by expressing how much you enjoy your job and appreciate working for your organization.  Thank your manager for the time they have invested in guiding, mentoring or coaching you. Bring your notes with you and refer to the talking points.  Your notes will show your manager that you are taking this seriously.  The notes will keep you on track as well as help keep nerves at bay. Bring an updated copy of your resume. Make sure this version of your resume lists all the new skills that you have learned or performed within the last year or two. A good way to end your conversation is to ask your manager: What are your thoughts?

Business woman consulting in office
The discussion is like planting a seed

Follow up

Whether you got the promotion or not, send a follow up email to your manager thanking him/her for their time. If you did not get the promotion, do not be discouraged.  Asking for a promotion is usually not a one and done discussion; rather, it is a series of continuing conversations. In your follow up email send a copy of your updated resume and in the body of the email provide a brief, condensed version of your attributes relaying to why you should receive the promotion. Communicate your commitment to the team and company as a whole. Ask how you can improve your performance or what skills you might need to acquire to get promoted in the future. Ask when might be a good time to revisit the topic. 

Don't Forget to Follow up text on sticky notes with office desk concept
Send a follow up email thanking your manager for their time and consideration
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