Labour Employment News

How to Ask for a Promotion

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MANY PROFESSIONALS, even seasoned professionals, struggle to negotiate a promotion. And this is the case even when they know that they deserve it!

A 2016 PayScale survey of 31,000 people found that only 43 percent of respondents had ever asked for a raise. Those who hadn’t cited reasons such as discomfort with negotiating and fear of seeming pushy. These are obstacles everyone needs to overcome. The labor market is strong, with the lowest unemployment rates in 18 years, so now is a great time to ask for a promotion.

A previous article discussed five steps you can take to put yourself in line for a promotion. This article reviews how to ask for the promotion, from scheduling the meeting to preparing and closing your presentation.

[Read: How Do Promotions Work?]

How to ask for a promotion:
Show that you’re a leader.
Schedule a meeting with your boss.
Prepare for the meeting.
Be confident.
Respond well to constructive criticism.
Clarify next steps.
Show that you’re a leader.
Before scheduling a meeting for a promotion, show that you are a leader. You may have a strong work ethic and get along well with everyone on your team, but that isn’t enough to get a promotion. Superiors look for people who show leadership potential to advance them within an organization.

Ask yourself if you are truly being a leader in your current position. Are you being your best self on a regular basis and demonstrating leadership strengths consistently? It’s not about perfection every single day, but we all know if we’re stepping up to the plate or not. Bottom line: You know your potential. Are you living up to it?

Consider whether you need to do more of the following:

Motivate your fellow co-workers or employees.
Take a greater leadership role in meetings.
Offer suggestions to improve processes in your department.
Demonstrate that you are able to manage conflict, handle change and deal with difficult employees.

Take stock in the new year. Are there times when you’re doing the bare minimum rather than going the extra mile? Make a commitment to evaluate each week what worked, what didn’t and what you could have done differently to improve your leadership potential.

You can also make an effort to sharpen your soft skills. Identify the top three soft skills that you think you need to work on and create an annual goal and plan to develop them. Track your performance on an accomplishments document.

[Read: How to Negotiate Your Salary and Succeed.]

Schedule a meeting with your boss.
When you are ready to talk with your boss about a promotion, let him or her know you would like to schedule a meeting. Make sure that he or she isn’t overwhelmed with other tasks. Let your boss know that you would like to talk about your performance and the possibility of a promotion.

However, don’t go into details at this point. Give your boss time to prepare so he or she won’t feel ambushed.

Prepare for the meeting.
To prepare for the meeting, you should do the following four things:

Update your resume and print a copy to give to your boss.
Review your accomplishments document and choose the key points you want to review during your meeting. Make sure to show measurable results with each point to prove your value and your ability to assume additional responsibilities.
Research the market value and average salary for the position you are asking for on sites like and Take into account your experience and location. Include your suggestion for your new salary within your presentation. Provide a range of between $2,000 and $5,000 to give the company wiggle room. Be prepared to ask for other perks you may want to have, such as flex time or the ability to work remotely, in case the company will not meet your desired salary.
Prepare a presentation for the meeting. This could be a PowerPoint or a “brag book,” which is a bound document you prepare to showcase special tasks and projects you completed over the past two years, new skills you have acquired, kudos from customers and rewards you have received. The idea is to present your manager with tangible, measurable results you can review together to validate why you should get a promotion.
Be confident.
During the meeting, be confident. Your attitude affects your actions, which affects the overall outcome. If you think that you don’t deserve a promotion, or that the organization you work at won’t give you a promotion, this will prevent you from asking for a raise with confidence.

Your body language communicates a lot. For example, do you stand up straight or do you tend to slouch? Do you cross your arms most of the time while talking or do you keep them at your sides? Do you make eye contact easily or do you tend to stare at the floor? The key is to practice your body language so that you indicate by your actions that you are open and confident.

[See: How to Change Careers Successfully.]

Respond well to constructive criticism.
While you are meeting, invite your boss to be open with you about your chances for a promotion. When you talk to your boss about advancing, ask for constructive criticism about areas where you should improve or skills you should enhance.

When asking for constructive criticism, it’s important to handle it well. If you seem to respond poorly to feedback, either by defending your actions, blaming someone else or dismissing comments, this will not help your case for a promotion. Take the feedback well, and be sure to implement improvements over time.

Clarify next steps.
After you have made your case for a promotion and an increase in salary, close the loop. No matter what the end result of your meeting is, make sure that the next steps are clear. Do you need to schedule a follow-up meeting to track your progress in a few months? Do you need to fill out an application? Do you need to have an interview with someone else in the organization for an open position you are interested in? Don’t leave the meeting without being clear on what needs to happen next.


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