How to Ask For a Promotion: 7 Ways to Succeed

How to ask for a promotionWondering how to ask for a promotion at work? Asking for a promotion can be nerve-wracking. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. There are right ways to ask for a promotion -- and wrong ways. Here are the top mistakes employees make when asking for a promotion, so you can successfully navigate a discussion with guaranteed success.

Don't: Ask for a promotion at the spur of the moment

Instead: Be ready. Identify the job you want. Ask for a meeting with the boss. If you want to create a new position, explain why doing so is important to the company's overall success and give specifics about why you are the right person for that position.


Don't: Talk about why you need a promotion or a raise. No boss wants to hear that you are desperate for a salary increase because you can't make car payments or can't afford a vacation. Appearing needy and demanding will only turn your boss off.

Instead: Show confidence and be positive. Believe in your worth and your value to the team. Give your boss reason to believe that you are committed to the company's future. Get ready for your pitch for a promotion by giving your boss concrete examples about the work you've done in the past, the value your work has added to the company (the more specific the numbers the better!), and explain what you can do in the future to add to the company's value. Practice with a friend or spouse before your meeting with your boss so that you come across poised and professional when asking for a promotion.


Don't: Ask your boss for a promotion because he "gave Maxine one." That sounds childish and whiny and is not behavior a boss is likely to reward with more responsibility.

Instead: Make yourself an important part of the team. By taking on leadership roles, making integral contributions, and following through on projects you give yourself leverage when angling for a promotion.


Don't: Threaten to quit your job...and not expect to follow through.

Instead: If you have another offer but would rather stay with your current company, be honest with your boss. Explain the situation, what promotion or salary increase would entice you to stay, and why it's important to you to remain with your current employer. You aren't alone if the money at your current job is keeping you searching the Want Ads. An Employment Confidence Survey by Glassdoor in December 2014 found one in three employees said they would look for a new job in 2015 if a raise didn't come their way.


Don't: Ask for a promotion when 10 of your co-workers were just laid off.

Instead: Time your promotion request appropriately. A natural time to ask is at a performance review. It might be best to wait if the company has had a bad quarter, if there's been recent layoffs, or if the company just lost a big client. Being smart about when you make your pitch can make all the difference in how successful you are.


Don't: Be late.

Instead: Get to work on time -- and don't leave early. Dress professionally. Never say "that's not my job." Don't take liberties with company expenses. Those are some common reasons why employers passed over employees for promotion.


Don't: Take no for an answer.

Instead: If the answer is no, ask if the higher-ups can tell you what role they see you filling down the line, what you can do to meet their expectations, and how you can take on more leadership to show them your skills. Set a date in the future (six months, for instance) to meet again and reassess your role

For more tips to help further your career check out CTU’s Career Services page.  Additionally, learn more about marketing yourself more effectively.

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1 (August 27, 2015)