How to ask for a promotion

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Feel like you deserve your next job and frustrated you haven’t been offered it yet?

If you feel your promotion is being overlooked, having a discussion on it with your manager is a great way to bring it to the top of their mind and start the process.

Unfortunately, many a time we feel our managers should know when we are ready for the next step however this may not be on top of their mind as they wade through many priorities at work. If you feel your promotion is being overlooked, having a discussion on it with your manager is a great way to bring it to the top of their mind and start the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are preparing for the discussion:


Manage the timing

The most straightforward time to ask is your annual, semi-annual or quarterly review—it’s the perfect opportunity for both you and your manager to discuss your performance and career goals. If the annual review is too far away and you are keen to have a discussion earlier, think back to why is your promotion so urgent for you? Is it for example because you have taken on responsibilities that you haven’t been formally recognized for yet? In such a case, if you have recently successfully completed a project, which was not your responsibility, it may be a good time to mention to your boss that you would like to be formally recognized for your larger role. This is ideally done when you have a bit of time to catch up rather than when they are in the middle of urgent tasks.


Present the benefits

A promotion will obviously be of benefit to you for a number of reasons. However, in your meeting with your manager, when you ask for a promotion, ensure that you present why it could be beneficial or aligned with the objectives of your manager or organization. Also, be ready with concrete details on how you have exceeded expectations in your current role and demonstrated the ability to take on a larger role.


Don’t get negative

While not getting a promotion may make you feel demotivated, it is worthwhile starting this discussion before you start looking for opportunities outside your organization. Using the “other offer” card may put pressure on the situation and while it may at times secure you a faster promotion, it is likely to erode trust and weaken professional relationships, which can adversely impact your career in the longer term.


Have a follow up plan

Getting a promotion may involve a series of discussions and can take time. If you get the promotion, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and close the conversation. If now is not a good time for the company to be offering promotions, ask your manager when you can revisit the conversation. If they said no based on your current performance, ask for regular feedback and advice on how you can get to the next level.

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