How to Ask for a Promotion the Right Way

Published: Feb 24, 2023

 Salary & Benefits       
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After a certain amount of time, you might start to feel as though you need a new challenge at work. If you’re always on time and you’re more than adept at completing your day-to-day tasks, you’re probably ready for the next step. In order to make sure your employer sees things your way, you’ve got to build a strong case for your promotion. Today we’re going to show you how to prepare a nice pitch, and how to approach your employer to have that all-important conversation. Let’s get started.

Do Your Research

It’s important to perform some research into the new role you’re interested in so you can determine whether you want to make the move. The job you’re looking to get promoted to will likely require you to possess a different skillset, and along with this, your day-to-day experience and job responsibilities will probably change quite a bit. The easiest way to perform this type of research is to take a look at job descriptions online. What you’re looking for here are common job responsibilities and the skills that are required among a number of similar listings.

Another way to learn more about the job you’re asking to be promoted to is to seek out individuals who already have the same or a similar job title. This is particularly helpful as you can get a real understanding of what you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis, straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. You could also get some good information from reading articles about the job you’re looking for. In fact, your current employer might already have such information on their website.

Once you’ve learned as much as you can about the job you want to be promoted to, seek to develop any new skills that might be required. This may take some time, but it would be far better to have the old promotion conversation once you’ve got all your ducks in a row. If you can demonstrate knowledge of the skills you’re going to need, your chances at getting the promotion will increase drastically.

Develop a Pitch

Now that you know what you’re getting into and you’ve built up your new skillset, it’s time to work on a pitch. Here, you want to do your best to take the information you’ve gathered through your research, and demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the organization if and when you’re promoted. First and foremost, make a clear statement that defines your new position and its included responsibilities, along with how it fits into the organization’s current structure and the problems it will solve.

In order to make the case for your promotion more compelling, include examples of times where you went above and beyond to help the organization. This could include performing over your quota, or meeting a tight deadline with some slick multitasking or impromptu project management. The best kinds of examples are ones that are quantitative, so if you have any that relate to an increase in sales or a successful social media campaign, make sure you include them.

Another important aspect of your pitch is your outlook for the future. This should include any plans you’ve devised that can help your employer meet their goals or that will otherwise provide increased efficiency and productivity. Make sure that your plans address any existing issues, or problems and concerns that your employer currently has. Similar to an interview, you might be met with questions about your weaknesses. Here, you should be open and honest about any weaknesses, while also explaining how you plan to overcome them. If you’re already working on developing a skill that you didn’t already have, that’s a great example to provide as it shows your employer that you’ve done your homework and that you’re motivated to succeed.

The Approach

Once you’ve got your pitch worked up and you’ve got it memorized from front to back, you’re ready to schedule a meeting with your employer. You can request a meeting in person or through email—just make sure you maintain a high level of professionalism either way. Include a statement such as “I’m interested in discussing the possibility of taking on more responsibilities for [company name].”

It probably goes without saying, but make sure you show up to work on time on the day of your meeting. To be fair, you should always show up to work on time, especially if you’d like to be promoted one day, but take extra precautions just in case—you never know if there’ll be an accident on the freeway or an unusually high volume of traffic that day. Remember, you’re initiating this conversation and your employer is taking the time out of their day to meet with you, so be respectful of their time and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.

The possibility exists that you won’t get the answer you’re looking for. If this happens be polite, thank your employer for their time, and continue to perform your job to your usual high standards. In time, your employer might decide that they’re ready to promote someone on your team to a new position, and since you’ve already approached them, there’s a good chance you’ll be the candidate they’ve got in mind.