So you want to ask for a promotion but are unsure how to approach it.
Everyone likes to be appreciated and rewarded for their achievements. Getting promoted and receiving a pay rise is the best form of public recognition in the workplace.
It is perfectly natural to feel unsure when you ask for a promotion. Most people are nervous their request will be rejected and will therefore feel……..well I guess the best word is rejected! Especially if you have worked for a company for a long time and have put in your best effort.
If you are reading this article expecting a word by word script on how to talk to ask for a promotion, you may as well click away now. You need to be genuine in your request and that needs to be done in your own words.
If you are still reading this, I will reveal the BEST way to set yourself up so your boss will have no choice but to promote you.
Trust me, I know.
After working in Human Resources for 15 years, I have lost count of the number or times I have been asked for a promotion.
The advice I am giving you is based on what the people who are successful do to get their promotions. It does work, but, it also TAKES effort and preparation.
How To Prepare For A Promotion
Before you ask for a promotion, you must be the top choice. To do this, the groundwork should be started months before you request that meeting.
If you expect to be promoted because of length of service, age, academic qualifications, or past work experience, think again. Getting promoted will happen when you are identified as a talented employee.
To be identified as talent, you need to achieve results; be leadership material; and have a strong internal network that is aware of your capabilities.
Here are my top tips to set yourself up for a promotion:
If you do an OK job in your current role, why would you be promoted? You need to be excelling in your current position by achieving and exceeding targets and key performance indicators.
Achieving results is only part of the equation. Being a high performer is also HOW you achieve those results. If you back stab colleagues, compromise on quality or disregard process and policy; chances are you will never be considered for promotion.
No one likes to work along-side a big selfish ego. Or a team member who constantly big notes themselves at the expense of their colleagues. Self-promotion is not either of those things.
Self-promotion is subtly making sure your manager is aware of your small wins and big achievements.
A good way to do this is to keep your manager up to date with your activities. If you have a regular scheduled catch-up with your manager, you can use part of this meeting to review your progress, achievements, and results. Otherwise you can start sending periodic update emails to your manager. This email could be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly depending on your work environment and industry.
A top tip is to recognise your colleagues for their contribution. It also helps to highlight your areas for improvement and growth. This demonstrates self-awareness which is an essential part of leadership.
Take On Additional Responsibility
I continually encounter people who expect to be promoted before they will take on additional responsibility.
They have the attitude: “unless you pay me more, I won’t do any more’.
The problem with this attitude is there are people who will take on the extra responsibility. These ‘go-getters’ are demonstrating that they are capable of a larger role. Very often, it is these people will get the promotion.
The moral of this story: you will not get a promotion and a pay rise until you can demonstrate that the company needs to invest in you.
So; join project groups, ask for additional tasks and use your initiative to see where you can add extra value. Show your manager that you are capable of a larger role.
You will not get a promotion and a pay rise until you can demonstrate that the company needs to invest in you..Kate J Parker
Work socialising is not spending your work day in the lunch room taking about the last nights reality TV show.
To get promoted you need to be noticed. So use work social events to network outside of your immediate team. Go to Friday afternoon drinks, join the office netball team and volunteer at work fund raisers.
Create a great impression at these events (this means avoid being the office drunk!).
Be friendly, attentive and interested in everyone you meet. Make sure your face and name is recognisable – in a positive way!
Get A Mentor And Be A Mentor
The times I have experienced rapid growth in my career is when I am being mentored.
Find someone you aspire to be and ask them to mentor you. This is the best way to get direct feedback and continue to grow your knowledge and skills.
It is also beneficial to mentor someone who aspires to be in your role. By nurturing the up and coming talent in your organisation, you are actively demonstrating your leadership potential.
Understand The Role
When you prepare for a job interview, you research the role in order to match you skills, knowledge and capabilities to the position.
Use this same principle when you ask for a promotion. Identify which job you want and research the role. Ideally get hold of a position description or talk to someone who currently does the role.
Once you understand the position, you can begin to demonstrate the core competencies while in your current role. Make it easy to be promoted by showing you have the skills, knowledge, and capabilities to excel in the role you aspire to do.
Demonstrate Leadership Capability
• Be a thinker not just a doer (ie work smart not just hard)
• Listen and act on feedback you receive from managers and colleagues
• Challenge the status quo with new ideas and solutions to problems
• Be a forward thinker. Set goals and anticipate future challenges and opportunities
• Be aware of how you project yourself in the workplace
• Keep confidentiality. Don’t leak sensitive information
• Don’t gossip! Even if someone else is, don’t contribute to the conversation
Share Your Career Plans
Please do not blind side your manager with a promotion request. They should already know your career plans well before you broach the subject.
At the very least, talk to your manager about your short and medium term career goals during your annual performance reviews.
Be Drama Free
Have you ever worked with one of those people who is always complaining, is never satisfied, and always has an excuse for not getting things done?
Don’t be one of these people. If you jump on this bandwagon, your career will suffer.
In simple terms, don’t:
• Miss deadlines (even self-imposed ones)
• Cause trouble by ‘stirring the pot’
• Create tension in the workplace
• Forget to return phone calls or emails
• Dress inappropriately
• Blame others, tools, resources, or the dog for not delivering
• Be generally unreliable
• Break company policy or be unethical
• Lie! Always tell the truth even if it painful to do
Have the Right Attitude
One of the top pieces of advice I can give you is to be positive, happy, and helpful. There are the easiest people to promote.
How To Ask For A Promotion
A word for word ‘wonder’ script won’t land you a promotion. The way you talk to your manager needs to be genuine, and in your own words. But follow these tips when you ask for a promotion to give yourself the best possible chance:
• Send your manager a meeting request. Make sure you have a private place to meet free of distraction. This is not the type of conversation you should have while passing in the hall way.
• Don’t use your annual performance review as an opportunity to ask for a promotion.
• Make sure you meet at an appropriate time. Avoid times your boss is distracted such as before she leaves for holiday or when she is approaching a big deadline.
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• Be prepared. Just like a job interview, have your elevator pitch, results, and achievements ready for discussion.
• Give clear reasons why you should be promoted. These reasons should not be about you – but rather what you can do for the company.
• Don’t threated to resign if you don’t get promoted. I have seen this tactic back fire way too many times. You could end up jobless!
• Don’t compare your performance to others. This is about you and what you can offer, not about your performance compared to others.
After You Ask For A Promotion
If you get the promotion – congratulations! Now the real work begins with a bigger role and added responsibility.
If you don’t get the promotion, ask for feedback. It is normal to feel disappointed and want to reject the feedback you receive. But remember, high achievers listen and act. Take on board what is said and work out how you can use this to improve your performance.
Finally, this can be hard to hear, but sometimes people are just not promotable. They have reached their potential and don’t have the capability to go to the next level.
This is OK.
Very few people become the CEO or a Senior Executive. You can be great at your job, appreciated for your work, but have reached your potential. A bigger role may exceed your capabilities and turn you into a poor performer.
This is not a bad thing – the last thing you want is to struggle in a job you are not suitable for, and be performance managed for not meeting targets.
If you have practised this advice and are continuously overlooked for a promotion, you may need to consider that you have reached your potential. Instead of a promotion, maybe seek a sidewards move instead. Then you can experience the excitement of a new challenge and continue to grow and learn.
Related Article: Why Being Indispensable Will Hinder Your Career.