Asking for a promotion can make or break your current position and relationship with your employer. It’s important to have a strategic plan in place before going to your boss about a new role.

There are five steps that you should take when asking for a promotion. The process shouldn’t be taken lightly but rather should be well thought out and the steps clearly defined.

  1. Decide what role or responsibilities you would like to take on. In order to do this, you must identify the need or value add for your organization—make a business case for promotion based on what you can do for the company. Your value add must directly align with the goals, revenue or mission your team and company has. In the current day of lean-operating companies, promotions happen more commonly when individuals prove how they are able to better serve the organization, as opposed to just being rewarding for great performance. For example, the best coder on a software development team shouldn’t necessarily become a candidate for management just because he or she has provided clean code for their duration of employment. If soft skills, delegation capability or leadership qualities do not align, the individual could stay stagnant in their career and not be a candidate for getting a promotion.
  2. Be able to effectively highlight your accomplishments that go above and beyond your role. This could mean overachieving quotas, taking on side projects or mentoring junior contributors. This list should only contain duties or initiatives that are above your current role’s expectations and again should directly correlate to what you can do for the organization in the new role.
  3. Consider timing, and then request a platform on which to speak. Ideally, your boss will be onsite with you, and your request will align with an expected performance evaluation if done annually. If you don’t have an upcoming review or performance evaluation, be sure that your request is for a meeting in the near future and without a hidden agenda. You need to be clear as to what you want to speak to your boss about. Also, in-person discussions are always best if an option. For telecommuters or remote workers, consider Facetime, Skype, or the last resort, phone.
  4. If increased compensation is a part of the deal, know your worth! Do your research via salary.com or glassdoor.com and know what you’ve brought to the table in terms of revenue. Also, be firm on your lowest acceptable number and be prepared to negotiate.
  5. EXECUTE. Arrive on time, thank your higher up for their time and efficiently make your case.

In conclusion, although sometimes an extremely arduous and uncomfortable request, the only way to progress in your career may be to ask for it. Ensure the quality of your expected work, make it a point to do what is more than expected and go out and get what you deserve!

Have you recently asked for a promotion? Share your story below.


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