How to ask for a promotion

A workplace promotion might be handed to you to recognise your efforts, skills, and hard work in your current workplace. But what if that promotion isn’t forthcoming? What do you do then? How do you ask for a promotion?

It is often the case that we are ready to take the next step towards a promotion long before it’s been recognised, so it’s your responsibility to make that clear to your leadership team.

This can conjure up feelings of being judged, anxiety and worry. But advocating for yourself is a skill that can be learned.

Our top tips that will help you successfully ask for a promotion

Tip 1: Plant the seed

Although the saying goes “if you don’t ask you don’t get”, planting the seed now will benefit you when you do come to open up a discussion about a promotion.

When you go into your next interview or discussion with your boss remember to talk about what you have done for the team. What have you achieved? How have you improved the performance of your team?

When the time comes to ask for a promotion one of the things they will be looking at are the levels you’ve been working to and the outcomes of projects you’ve delivered.

Putting yourself forward for things and going that extra mile is going to help you stand out.

This can be done in many different ways including taking a role on a project that has already been identified for improvement. Or building a portfolio of your work by reviewing completed projects.

 

Tip 2: Be specific

You need to be clear about what it is that you want from the promotion. For example, would you like to be a lead? Or a project manager? A team leader?

You need to be clear about what the promotion entails and what it will mean for your role. Think about what you are good at and what you can bring to a new position. 

Review those opportunities to improve your current role or the ways you can add value to the team. You need to be specific enough that you can paint that picture and make it crystal clear what the promotion is for and why it will benefit the company.

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Tip 3: Be confident

Many of us fear asking for things. We’re afraid of being rejected, or that we’ll be seen as selfish or even needy. We might even worry that we won’t have the right skills for the job.

In addition to these feelings, many people worry about what their peers or leaders will think if they ask for a promotion. We know that asking for a promotion can be a scary prospect, but it is important to acknowledge these fears. Recognise that these are real, then take a step back and remember that asking for a promotion is not just an exercise in confidence building, but also in demonstrating how you can work better and add value to your workplace.

If you are looking at a promotion and thinking “is this the right time?” ask yourself “what would I do if this was happening in a month?” Or, “if this happened in a week” or “if it was happening tomorrow”. Practice answering these questions so that you can confidently convey those thoughts when the time comes.

In addition to that we might feel nervous about how the answer will affect us.

Don’t let your nerves get in the way of you speaking up. You don’t need to be the most polished communicator, just make sure that your message is clear.

Tip 4: Be prepared

When presenting your case for promotion you will be under more scrutiny than ever before. Your performance will be being scrutinised, your team’s performance will be under review and your management will be considering the value of your promotion.

 

All of these things will add to your stress levels and make you feel anxious, but it’s a great opportunity to showcase your strengths and abilities in a professional way.

There will be lots of questions and doubts that will arise. But it’s all part of the process.

If you have already been doing well, you might be surprised at how your manager will respond

Finally, just remember, if you are nervous about the outcome, keep in mind that you will never know what will happen until you ask.

 

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