How to Ask for a Promotion in 10 Simple Steps

Illustration of two men, one sitting behind a desk and one standing in front of it with a chat bubble containing dollar coins inside

Have you been in the same job for a while? Taking on additional responsibilities but not receiving any reward for it? If the answer is ‘yes’, then it’s time you take your fate in your own hands and ask for a promotion.

If you’re wondering what to do or say to make sure that you don’t blow your chances, then you’ve come to the right place!

Here we will uncover everything that you need to convince your boss that your worthy of a promotion!

1. Have an informal conversation first

When seeking out a promotion, it’s necessary to plant the seed by having an informal conversation with your direct manager first. Let them know that you’re eager to take on new responsibilities and venture into a new position. If this is something that you’ve been doing for a while, then let your manager know that you feel ready to take the next step in your career and hope that you can move into a more challenging role at the company. Asking for a promotion requires a series of conversations, so make the first step matter by setting up a good case in your informal conversation with your boss.

2. Be direct

To get what you want, you’re going to have to be direct and clear about your wishes and expectations. Don’t assume that your next in line for a promotion because you’re a good worker, your boss may be oblivious to your needs and think that you’re comfortable in your current position.

So, to bag that next promotion, you need to be clear about what you want, why you want it, and most importantly prove why you deserve it! When speaking to your manager, be sure to clearly outline the reasons for your request and have answers prepared for any obstacles that may crop up during the course of the conversation.

3. Give a formal presentation

When building your case for a promotion, it’s not a bad idea to create a formal presentation. You’re most likely going to have to talk to a few senior members on the team, so be fully prepared with clear examples of why you deserve to move up the corporate ladder.

For example, if you have increased profit margins over the last year, be sure to include a slide with statistics and examples of how you achieved this. Besides achievements, you can list a few strategies that you plan to implement if you’re successful in securing the role that you desire. This will show that you’re proactive and are taking your request very seriously.

4. Speak to someone more senior 

If you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with your direct manager, don’t be afraid of speaking to someone more senior than them. For example, if there’s an available position where internal recruits are being considered first, speak to your HR department, who will be able to either assist or put you in contact with the most appropriate person.

Besides being helpful, HR also must keep your request confidential. So, if you’re applying for a position in another department and are afraid of your manager finding out, you can keep it a secret until you are ready to tell them yourself.

5. Create a new position

If you love the company that you’re working for but are seeking a new challenge that will help you grow as a professional, why not create a new position yourself? Look for gaps that need to be filled and put forward a case about creating a new role.

In one of my previous jobs, I worked hard taking on additional responsibilities and creating new structures. By the time I requested a promotion and proposed the new role, I had proof that it’s a role that was needed since I was already completing all of the duties for it. Although it was risky, since I was doing a lot of additional work for free, it finally paid off in the end when I was able to get the recognition that I deserved. So, if you’re willing to put in the effort, consider doing the same too.

6. Choose your timing wisely

While there may be no perfect time to pull your boss aside and ask for a new job title or salary, some instances are often better than others. For example, if the company is making budget cuts and layovers, then avoid asking for a promotion right now! It’ll be clear that the company is suffering and even if you’re doing a good job or deserve the promotion, your request will likely be denied.

That said, if you’ve just secured a new deal, broken sales records or implemented a successful scheme, then it’s your perfect chance to swoop in and ask for a promotion!

Just be sure to explain how this promotion will line up with the company’s overall objectives.

7. Explain how your current role will be filled

To be fully prepared and present a though-out plan, you’ll need to explain how your current role will be filled – especially if it’s an important one that requires months of training. You would likely have started a suitable candidate to fill your position from within your team, so don’t be afraid to put in a good word for them!

Also, you can create a list of duties and explain how they can easily be transitioned to other members of the team. For example, one person doesn’t necessarily need to fill your role, but you could distribute your chores among a handful of capable employees.

8. Practise your promotion pitch

Practising your promotion pitch is super important if you want to ooze authority and confidence. I remember my first promotion request; I was terrified of rejection and shaking in my boots while handing over my achievements statistics to the general manager – it was something I wanted so bad that I let the nerves get the best of me!

To avoid making the same mistakes as I did, practice what you’re going to say, and even say the words out loud. Hire a career coach or entrust a friend to listen to your speech and give you pointers on where you can improve.

9. Conclude via email

Once you’ve had your formal meeting, don’t forget to conclude what was said via email. Think of this as a ‘thank you email’ that you would usually send to a hiring manager after an interview. Within this email, you can attach your presentation and any other information that will support your case for a promotion.

Here’s a sample that you can use:

Dear [manager’s name],

Thank you for meeting with me earlier to discuss the possibility of my promotion to [position name].

As discussed, I feel that I’m ready to take on this challenge and bring even more desired results for the business. As per the attached presentation, I have faced plenty of obstacles this year and overcome them, helping me develop the skills necessary for a managerial role.

Please let me know if there’s anything else that you need from my behalf.

I look forward to hearing about your final decision.

Regards,

[Your name]

10. Follow up

If a few weeks have passed and you haven’t heard back from your manager, don’t be afraid of following up on the status of your application. During this time, you can also ask for feedback on steps you can take to gain the required experience and be considered for a promotion in the near future.

Asking for a promotion isn’t easy, but with these steps, you should gain the confidence needed to get what you deserve. And if you’re not successful, at least it’ll put you in the run-up for the next opportunity or make you realise that it’s time to start looking for a job elsewhere!

Have you ever asked for a promotion before? Let us know how it went by leaving a comment below!