Career Development

How to Ask for a Promotion

Asking for a promotion is an important step in any career. A promotion demonstrates your value to the company, personal initiative and proves your future commitment. Only you know when it is time for the next step in your career and you need to be prepared to say so. Asking for a promotion can be stressful, but this article explains how to plan and ask for a promotion when you are ready.

How to ask for a promotion at work

Here are some steps to help you plan out how to ask for a promotion:

1. First, do your research

Asking for a promotion is essentially a negotiation, and before every good negotiation comes proper research. Start by asking other people in your position when promotions are usually given. Is it one or two years in, or is it longer? Find out what the general timeline is. 

Then get specific. Ask people in your company about when promotions usually happen, especially to people in your position. The past always sets a precedent, so if the person who had your position a few years ago got a promotion after a year, this is a timeline you might want to consider following. You also need to know the numbers. Find out the general salary raise given for a promotion at your level.

2. Second, know your worth

A big part of the numbers aspect is knowing your value to the company. Before you make a meeting to discuss a promotion, think about your history within the company. Have some concrete examples of what you have done to benefit the company and offer your plans to continue this behavior in the future. It’s also a good idea to start planting the seed and giving your manager the idea that you may be asking for a promotion soon. Start asking your manager for more feedback and constructive criticism, as well as asking for extra tasks that may look favorable when asking for a promotion. 

Also, before a meeting with your manager, make sure you’re ready to discuss numbers. You shouldn’t discuss numbers before a promotion is offered but if one is, you don’t want to be caught off guard. Research the norms in your industry and ask your coworkers what a general promotion amount is like in your company. 

3. Then, think about the future

Reflect on the reason for promotion, don’t just go to your manager with a sense of entitlement and your belief that it’s something you deserve. Promotion is for your own personal benefit of course, but it’s also a way to show your manager and company that you have a plan for your future at the company.

Also, a raise can be about more than just salary. You may want more managerial control or a lateral move to another department Maybe you want to create an entirely new role. If these are a possibility, and something your manager may bring up in the process, make sure to be clear about what you want. Think about the rest of the company too. Make sure to think about all possible future factors before deciding what kind of promotion you want. 

4. Next, time the meeting

There may never be a perfect time to ask for a raise, but there are certainly better times than others. Obviously, if your company has had a particularly difficult quarter or after a round of layoffs, it isn’t the ideal time. The best time is after something good has happened, whatever that means for you and your position. 

While thinking about the overall status of the company is important, don’t get complacent and lose your nerve. A hardworking employee is a company’s most valuable asset, and managers know this. Stellar work should be rewarded, even if the economy is not so great or a company had a difficult few months. If the timing feels right to schedule a meeting with your manager, don’t just mention casually after a presentation. 

5. Lastly, follow up 

If your first request for a promotion is put on hold, be sure to show your manager that you have not forgotten and are still working hard. Follow up by sending occasional emails asking your manager how you can better your performance. If you want to be promoted to a certain position ask your manager what actions would be helpful to take in order to show your intentions more clearly.

If you do get the promotion, follow up a week or so later with an email to show gratitude and how this promotion has bettered your work habits. Let your manager know that you are not complacent and are excited to start working towards your next promotion. 

When you have decided that it’s time for a promotion it helps to have a plan for the best way to ask for a promotion, as it can actually increase your chances of achieving one. Asking for a promotion is something that can occur throughout your entire career. Whenever you find yourself wanting more from a job, start preparing to ask for a promotion. In most cases, your manager should be happy to help you move up in your career if the company’s structure and budget will allow for it.