How to Ask for a Promotion: Your 7 Step Guide
There’s a new opportunity in your company, and you know you’d be perfect for the job, but you’re not quite sure how to ask for the job promotion.
That’s because this is a common issue that people in all industries face.
You can’t just walk into your boss’s office and say that you deserve the job. That won’t cut it.
But there are some steps you can take to put yourself in the best possible position for advancement.
Ready to learn how?
Here’s our seven-step guide on how to ask for a promotion.
“Knowledge is power” isn’t just some catchphrase — it’s the truth. So if you want that new position, you’ve got to spend some time researching and acquiring the knowledge needed to handle the new role.
If you know the person who currently works in the role you hope to be promoted to, talk to them. Learn as much as you can about the overall job responsibilities as well as the day-to-day tasks that are involved.
Find out who you would report to. Find out who you would have to manage or supervise.
The job itself might seem like a great chance to take your career to the next level. But the nitty-gritty details might make you realize that it’s not the role for you.
If you have a good working relationship with the person currently in that role, it can be helpful to ask them for a recommendation for the position.
If it’s a brand new role that’s been posted online, read the job description thoroughly, then ask yourself this question:
If I didn’t already work there, would I be a qualified candidate?
Answer yes, and you should move forward to make that job yours! Answer no, and it may be time to reassess your skills and improve upon those that can get you where you need to be.
2. Think about Your Motivation
Ask yourself (and answer honestly) why you want the promotion.
- Because you want more power?
- To advance your career?
- Only because you want a raise?
Make sure that your values and career goals align with the company’s bigger plans. If the promotion can advance your company and help you achieve your career goals, you’re ready to move forward with step three.
3. Plant the Seed in Your Boss’s Mind
There’s no need to draft a formal proposal for why you want the promotion — at least, not yet.
Start by planting the seed in your boss’ mind to get some insight into whether they think you’re right for the job.
Casually mention your interest in the job without officially asking. If you have a good relationship with your boss, indicate that you’re interested and that you’d like to schedule a time to discuss it further.
In the meantime, step up your game and show your boss that you can handle additional responsibility.
You’ll have a better chance of getting the job if you can prove (ahead of time) that you’re a viable candidate for the position.
4. Prove You Deserve It
Depending on your company, you may want to put together a formal presentation to highlight your qualifications. In most cases, however, a “resume” of sorts should suffice.
So how do you go about putting together a resume for a promotion within your company? The key is to focus on the accomplishments you’ve made within the company since you were hired.
For example, make a list of any campaigns or teams you’ve led. Detail the various ways that you’ve implemented new practices, increased sales, or attributed to ROIs. The trick is to provide demonstrative and provable ways that you’ve added value to the company and improved their bottom line.
It’s also a good idea to gather a few letters of recommendation from within the company. Look to mentors, executives, and senior-level management for this. That is unless the future of the company is dependent upon changing the culture and weeding out those who are currently in executive roles.
If that’s the case, gather recommendations from employees on your same level. What your subordinates or interns have to say about you isn’t relevant in this situation.
5. Choose Good Timing
There will likely never be a perfect time to ask for a promotion, but some times are better than others.
Generally speaking, ask for the promotion when the general mood in the office is good.
Don’t ask immediately after half of your team has been laid off. Don’t ask when you’ve just lost a big client or suffered a major loss.
The perfect time to ask is when things are running as they should, and the people that can make the decision are in decent moods.
6. Set up a Meeting With Your Boss
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s time to set up that meeting with your boss.
Now is not the time to dance around the issue. Now is the time to ask for the promotion you want in a direct, clear, and concise manner.
Attend that meeting as prepared as you can be. Have a file with copies of your “promotional resume,” a list of your accomplishments, and any letters of recommendation that you’ve compiled.
During the meeting:
- Be articulate
- Lay out a clear argument as to why you want the promotion and why you’re the best candidate for the job
- Be ready to answer some tough questions and, most importantly, answer them honestly
If you do get the promotion, that’s the best way to set yourself up for success.
7. Request Feedback
After you’ve officially thrown your hat in the ring for the job, ask your boss for feedback. This is important even if you don’t get the promotion, as it can help you in the future. Knowing what you did wrong or knowing where you need to improve are essential if you ever wish to move up in the company.
Even if you’re not seeking a big promotion, it’s always a good idea to meet with your boss for an annual review. This is an easy way to ask for career advice and advance your career path, whether it be within the company or outside of it.
Ask your boss when they plan to make a decision, as you would in a traditional job interview. Follow up in that time frame and state your case again if need be. Showing your enthusiasm and dedication can be the difference between getting the job you want and being passed up in favor of someone else.
Ready to ask for that promotion at work?
Follow these seven steps to give yourself the best chance for advancement:
- Think about your motivation
- Plant the seed
- Prove you deserve it
- Find the right time to ask
- Set up a meeting with your boss
- Request feedback
Whether you get the promotion or not, going through the process of asking for one can be beneficial to your career. After all, the more you practice something, the better you become at it.
So if you don’t get this promotion, just look back at it as a trial run. Hone your skills, and the next promotion is sure to be yours!
About the Author
Mark Lucero, Business Manager at Xander 3900, has been in the Multi-Family Industry for 12 years and has a wide range of knowledge in the sub-market and complying with Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Mark has been with Alliance Residential for nine years.