How to Ask for A Promotion in 8 Easy Steps

By Chelsea Babin

Asking for a promotion seems incredibly difficult and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take the right steps and play your cards right, you could have a really easy time asking for that promotion you’ve been lusting after. This step-by-step process is sure to make asking for a promotion easier than ever!

1. Specificity is key: Do you have a specific position in mind that you’d like to be promoted to or just a general desire to be promoted? Specificity will make your preparation process that much easier. Whether it’s a job that someone is currently leaving, a job you’d like in the near future, or a job that doesn’t exist at the company yet but you’ve seen a need for, make sure you know what you’re aiming to get into before planting the promotion seeds.

2. Prepare, then prepare again: If the possibility of your boss asking you, “what have you done to deserve a promotion?” makes you shudder, then you probably aren’t as prepared as you should be. If you’ve been with the company a while you’ll have a multitude of experiences to draw from. Take some time to reflect upon the unique assets you bring to the company, the work you’ve done there, and the unique abilities you’ll contribute to this new role that you haven’t gotten a chance to showcase yet. When you’re finally ready to ask for a promotion, you’ll also want to make sure you look professional and polished. Make sure your body language exudes confidence and try to get rid of any nerves that are making you shaky or affecting your communication skills.

3. Build a foundation: Have conversations with higher ups whenever you can with whomever you can get access to. This will not only help the supervisors, bosses and leaders at your organization recognize your face, it will also help you become more accustomed to communicating with people in charge. When it’s time to ask for a promotion, you’ll be grateful for these chats because it will make your bosses seem less intimidating. In larger companies it might be difficult to communicate regularly with the person in charge, but the more people ahead of you who are familiar with you and your work, the higher the chance for you to get a promotion

4. Make sure your accomplishments and ambitions aren’t getting ignored: If you never mention your desire to move up within the company, how will they know you’re looking to be promoted? Mentioning casually that you’re interested in promotions to someone higher up plants the seed of information in their mind and they’ll pay closer attention to your accomplishments to determine if you’re ready for the next step.

5. Go the extra mile: Being promoted to a new position often means you’ll be taking on more responsibility. Show you can handle it now by offering to help coworkers and supervisors with any additional projects they might have. Make sure not to take on too many responsibilities at once, though, or you won’t be able to get everything done.

6. Timing is everything: You’ve probably been hesitating to ask for a promotion because you aren’t sure the time is right. The easiest time of the year to do it, if your company has annual reviews, is during your review. But maybe you weren’t prepared then or maybe your organization doesn’t offer those, that’s fine! There are other opportune moments to ask for a promotion. For example, if someone is vacating the position you want, make your desire known immediately. If your team has just finished a large project that you contributed significantly too, this would also be a good time to start the promotion conversation. Of course, there are bad times too. When the office is swamped and overwhelmed, spending time on a promotion conversation may be the last thing your boss wants to do. Timing is everything, but if you wait forever the opportunity could pass you by.

7. Ask your boss directly: When you’ve identified the promotion you want, when you’ve planted seeds and had conversations, when you’ve found the perfect timing or timing that will do, and when you’ve prepared a case for why you deserve a promotion, it’s time to bite the bullet. A straight forward, in person conversation with your boss is exactly what you need to get the promotion ball rolling. If your office is more formal you may need to schedule a meeting but if your boss has an open door policy, find a good time and go in to start your conversation. All of your preparation will come in handy here, making it a less stressful situation for all involved.

8. Follow up: After you’ve had the conversation you may either get the promotion you wanted right away (Yay!) or your boss may need time to think it over. Don’t be discouraged by this processing time but, if several weeks go by and you have no answer, make sure to politely follow up on the matter.

Asking for a promotion can be a completely nerve-wracking, spine-shaking experience if you don’t know how to do it. Follow these steps and you’ll find that asking a promotion is easier than ever because all of your cards will be in the right place. They’ll fall where they may, but you’ll have the comfort of knowing you were fully prepared and did everything you could to get the promotion you deserve.