May 10, 2023
15 min read
Are you due for a promotion? Now might be the perfect time to learn how to get a promotion.
You’ve been in your position for a while, and you believe you deserve a promotion. Now you just need to convince your boss that the time is right. We’ll go over everything you need to know, including how to ask for a promotion, when to do it, what to tell your boss, and most importantly, how to prepare and practice for the conversation.
A promotion at work generally refers to either a title change and a raise in your salary. So, for example, if you get a promotion you might get:
It can be difficult to get promoted. But you can put in a little effort to increase your chances of getting promoted. For example, if you want to boost your chances of a promotion, be sure to:
There are also things that can decrease your chance of getting a promotion, such as:
It can vary employer to employer, but a typical percent raise for a promotion is usually around 3% as long as it’s within the same company.
However, if you’re switching jobs, that percent raise might look more like 10% to 20%.
Nearly anyone is capable of getting a promotion, but as mentioned above, there are certain things that can make someone more “promotable.”
For example, people who go above and beyond at work are often seen as more promotable. People who are “givers” and not “takers” are seen as more worthy of getting a promotion.
Before you move forward with asking for a promotion, make sure you’re familiar with your company’s current promotion policies, eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures for applying for a promotion. Once you have clarity, and you believe you’re eligible, a few more stars need to align for the time to be right. Here’s what should come together:
It might be helpful for you to schedule a preliminary meeting with your boss to discuss your career goals and ask for feedback on your performance. That will help you gauge the situation and make a wise decision about moving forward with a promotion request.
Getting promoted at work is a big deal. Regardless of the outcome, being promoted means your employer has acknowledged your great work, responsibilities, and professional worth.
If it’s been a while since your last advancement, it might be time to learn how to get a promotion.
Here’s how to get a promotion in seven steps.
First things first: You need to put on your “game face” and step up to the challenge. Before learning how to get a promotion, you need to be as “promotion-worthy” as possible in your employer’s eyes. This means you need to be a model employee.
For example, you should be the role model other coworkers look up to. Model employees will do things like:
If you’re not a problem solver, that should be your next step. People who get promoted at work are often described as self-sufficient problem solvers.
Plus, if you look at the leaders of your company, you might notice that they share a common trait: being capable of resolving issues themselves.
It can be easy to identify and point out a problem at work. For example, maybe you notice that only 50% of your team shows up to meetings. That’s a problem.
While some employees would immediately alert their boss, leaders will step up to the plate and put their problem solving skills to the test. Instead of bugging your boss with the problem you noticed, try solving it yourself.
In this case, with half the team not showing up to meetings, you could brainstorm solutions. A problem solver might suggest things like:
Being a problem solver is a huge part of learning how to get a promotion.
The more skills you have as an employee, the more valuable you are to your employer. If your goal is to get promoted soon, put in the effort to learn a few new skills that can aid in your work.
For example, there are tons of useful skills that can be applicable in almost any work environment, such as:
However, you can also learn a few new industry-specific skills, such as getting familiar with some SEO basics as an editor of an online magazine.
It goes without saying that you never want to make your employer look bad. But going out of your way to make your employer look good is essential for people learning how to get a promotion.
In a nutshell, doing your job well is the simplest way to impress your boss (and your boss’ boss). Still, there are other things that can help make your employer look good, including:
At the end of the day, going above and beyond is a surefire way to make your boss look good.
There’s no doubt that asking for a promotion can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice asking for a promotion.
It can help to start by writing down everything you do for the company, including your daily responsibilities and your most impressive accomplishments. Doing this helps highlight why you’re worthy of a promotion in the first place.
Make some notes for yourself that include these details:
You can even go so far as to write your entire pitch down, word for word, so you can practice it.
When you ask for a promotion, you’re basically applying for a new job. Treat it that way. Understand the qualifications, and show how you meet them. Research the salary range for the position you’re interested in, and be ready to negotiate if necessary. Be prepared to discuss the tasks of the new role.
Indeed, a promotion means assuming additional responsibilities and learning new things. Make it clear that you’re not just willing to take on new challenges and greater responsibility; you’re eager to do it. Being ready for a promotion basically means that you’ve outgrown your current position. Convince your boss that you’ll be more valuable to the company in an advanced role.
This is perhaps the most nerve-wracking step of how to get a promotion: Actually asking your boss for a promotion.
Make sure you set some time aside for the conversation. If you have the option to discuss the matter in person, request a private meeting with your boss. With so many remote jobs these days, this might not be possible. If it’s not, request a video conference or a phone call. Whether it’s a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting, schedule a time that works for both you and your boss.
Even though you’re scheduling a time to meet, you don’t want to drop a bomb by waiting until the meeting to tell your boss what it’s about. When you request the time, let your boss know that you want to talk about your position and opportunities for advancement.
You might specifically say that you’d like to discuss your qualifications and eligibility for the role in question. Use your best judgment and your knowledge of your boss’s style and preferences. The main thing is not to catch them off guard; you want to give them a chance to prepare for the conversation.
Keep in mind that you’re making a case; you’re building an argument. Your goal is to persuade your boss that you deserve a promotion. That means that you need to present the reasons why you deserve it. You must convince your boss of two things:
Always begin the conversation by thanking your boss for taking time out of their day to meet with you. It’s a great segue into asking for a promotion. Don’t lead off with “the big ask.” Instead, start with a statement that you want to discuss the possibility of your advancement.
Express your gratitude for the time you’ve already spent with the company and under your boss’s leadership. Let them know that it’s your pleasure to be part of the team. Tell them that you’re excited about the future of the company and that you want to be part of it. Make it clear that you’ve already contributed to the company, and you’re ready to make a greater contribution.
During the meeting, highlight and provide examples of your best, most impressive accomplishments in your position. Give an overview of your daily responsibilities and how you go above and beyond in your role.
Be ready to negotiate, too. Even if your boss says no to your first proposal, you can always try to come back with a different salary number if your employer thinks your first pitch was too high.
You might get an instant yes. Perhaps you’ll get an instant no. Your supervisor might have feedback on areas where you can improve before being considered for a promotion. If that’s the case, be receptive and grateful. Then, prepare to take action to address any areas for improvement.
If you just get a hard no, ask what you can do to meet their expectations for the role or whether there’s another position that you should aim for. This is a dialogue, so ask good questions and listen well for recommendations and direction. Be sure to thank your supervisor for their time and helpful feedback, and express a positive outlook for the future.
Whether you ask for a promotion in person, over the phone, or via web conferencing, it’s in the context of a live conversation. It’s wise to practice what you plan to say and how to deal with follow-up questions. The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach can help with both of these. It’s free, fun, and effective. Here’s how to practice your promotion conversation with Yoodli.
This video walks you through the generative AI follow-ups feature.
We believe that you’ll find Yoodli’s analytics helpful. The AI follow-up questions give you experience in quick thinking and impromptu speaking, and they help you know what you can expect. And, much of the app’s value is the way it lets you practice on your terms, as much as you want.
If you didn’t get a promotion, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Not everyone gets a promotion, especially the first time you ask.
As you learn how to get a promotion, it’s probably that you’ll hit some roadblocks at some point.
There are plenty of reasons your boss rejected your request for a promotion. For example, some of the most common reasons employees don’t get promoted include:
It can be difficult to stay motivated if you haven’t had a promotion. Knowing when to wait it out and when to jump ship is important.
If you work at a large company, there should be a visible path for you to progress. In this case, you should shoot for getting promoted every five years. This time frame allows you to not only grow in your current role, but also to develop the necessary skills to progress to your next position.
For smaller companies, it can be tougher to tell. If you work at a small business and haven’t been promoted in a while (or ever), it might be worth having an honest conversation with your boss about where they see you going in the company.
If you don’t get promoted, you might be tempted to leave the company. Whether or not you should actually do so depends on you and your situation.
However, the general consensus is that you shouldn’t leave your job if you don’t get promoted. Many consider it the “wrong reason” to quit and leave a company.
Still, not getting a promotion might lead you to the conclusion that the company isn’t a good fit for you, like if it was a toxic work environment.
If you don’t get a promotion, don’t beat yourself up. As mentioned above, there are tons of potential reasons why it didn’t work out. Still, here are some next steps you should consider if you don’t get a promotion.
The more you prepare and practice, the more comfortable you’ll be. And, the more effective your promotion conversation will be. Whatever happens, asking for a promotion is a positive step in advancing your career. Even if you don’t get the promotion you want, the conversation can help you better understand what you need to do to get there in the future. Good luck!
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