How to Ask for a Promotion at Work

Today I want to look into how to ask for a promotion at work. Lately, the question “how do I ask for a promotion” has been popping on my email frequently. It seems many people have a problem asking for a promotion.

Many people do not know how to go about asking for a promotion, and they wait around for it to just come their way.

It is not easy to ask for promotion, but as discussed in this article, it is possible. You should not just sit there and wait for it to happen, NO!

Asking for a promotion is ranked among life’s most anxiety-inducing activities.

Positioning yourself in the open to the higher-ups can be frightening, and competition can be very high, especially in recent economic times.

There is also the fear of your promotion request being rejected.

However, asking for a promotion is one of the most important things you can do for your career.

If you desire to advance in your profession or company, promotions ought to be part of the game at any time when you deem it possible.

A Promotion cannot be simply given to you, you have to work for it, and there are times when you even need to ask for a promotion. That is why I want to educate you on how to ask for a promotion.

how to ask for a promotion

How to Ask for a Promotion

1. Reflect

You first need to think through what you really want. Is it more power, money, or more responsibilities?

Is there a position you are already eyeing, or do you intend to create a new position?

Do you desire to move up, or would a lateral move be okay with you?

You also need to think of your skills and how they match with the objectives of the organization.

When it comes to matters of how to ask for a promotion, reflection helps you to position your promotion request in a way that connects to bigger goals.

2. Do Your Homework Before Asking for a Promotion

Early preparation is the most important part of asking for a promotion.

This is because as you ask for the promotion, you have to prove with details that you are well set for the promotion.

Begin by emphasizing to your manager what you’ve achieved and brought to the table so far. This is a good measure of your contributions as well as your future potential.

List your achievements and use them as your arguing points.

Did you ever take on a side project that grew into a new income stream?

Doubled your sales goals in less than six months or increased productivity in your area of operation in whatever way?

All these extra achievements will go a long way in how to ask for a promotion as doing a good job in your position isn’t enough to build your case, you’ll have to show that you have put in extra effort and enabled the company to grow.

Next, identify the exact position you want, and why you feel ready to take it.

If, for example, you want to become an assistant manager, understand what that entails and then prove that you are capable of handling the position.

If you wish to be a team leader, have examples of how you’ve succeeded in managing smaller projects or people before, like managing your department’s internship program.

Have relevant examples that show you are the best fit for the job.

3. Get the Timing Right

Most employees shy away from asking for promotion as they can’t seem to find the right time to do it.

There is no perfect time to ask for a promotion, but there are obviously some timings that are better than others.

The appropriate time to ask for a promotion is during your company’s annual or semi-annual review, as that time offers you the chance to discuss your achievements and future potential.

However, if you wish to ask for promotion before then, consider the following points:

1. In the event that your company has been financially struggling and losing a lot of money, or you and your colleagues are struggling to meet a key work deadline, then you should consider putting on hold your asking for promotion.

2. Purpose to understand who your boss or superiors are before asking for promotion. Most people have a certain “way” that they like to converse and conduct business.

Identify the right time to ask your boss about your promotion. If your boss is about to take a two-week vacation, for instance, he/she might be in a good mood.

3. Take into account the current situation in your department. Has it recently merged with another department, and is there a lot of change in the company?

If so, you may use this as an opportunity to be a part of that change.

If your department is, however, laying people off due to the merge and the work environment is stressful, consider waiting until things settle down.

4. Don’t wait for the right time for too long.

If you’ve desired to have the conversation for months, but something always comes up, then consider being less picky and start taking action. Remember that without taking action, nothing will happen.

4. Ask for the Meeting

If it’s not a time for annual review, plan well before asking for the promotion.

Send an email requesting for a meeting, and clearly state that you wish to discuss your performance and potential. You can even search for a how to ask for a promotion email sample to ensure that you include the desired content.

By giving your boss advance notice, he/she has time to reflect on your performance and what the company can offer you in terms of raise or position.

5. Be Patient (to some extent) 

It would obviously be amazing if your boss agreed to issue the promotion immediately, but don’t bank on that.

Promotions hardly occur overnight, and you should not give up if your proposal is not immediately granted.

Keep doing good work as you wait and go out of your way to grow your impact in whichever position or area you are currently working.

All in all, do not turn a blind eye to signs that things may not be in your favor. If those around you seem to be getting promoted and not you, approach your boss and submit your request.

If you find out that you are not in your manager’s promotion list, consider whether to remain in the company or not.

By now, you have learned how to ask for a promotion, but it is also good to assess the things you should not be doing while asking for a promotion.

promotion at work

Important Things to Avoid When Asking for a Promotion

In as much as there’s no specific way of asking for a promotion, there are some tricky situations you should avoid.

Do not threaten to resign unless you’re ready to lose your current job

Acting tough and threatening to leave the company if you do not get a promotion can well put the right pressure on your boss, but it can also get you fired.

Do not issue this threat unless you are ready to not only lose your current job but also destroy your working relationship with your current employer.

 Do not assume this will be a one-time conversation and it is done

Even when your boss agrees with you, there’s a lot of paperwork, process, and consultation that must happen before a decision is made.

 Do not lose hope if things don’t go the way you want

When your first request for a promotion is declined, it does not necessarily mean that you will never get promoted at your job.

You could request your boss to give you an actionable list of things you can do between then and your next review.

Proving to your employer that you can take constructive criticism and that you’re committed to your career growth is an important ingredient on how to ask for a promotion.

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