There are few things in life quite as nerve-wracking as plucking up the courage to ask your boss for a promotion. Nobody likes the vulnerability that comes with asking such a loaded question outright and as terrifying as it may be to argue your case to the higher-ups, it’s actually one of the best things you can do for your career. In fact, in our experience, those who are open about their desire for a promotion are more likely to be considered in the future even if their first request is denied.
So if you want to climb that career ladder, it’s time to bite the bullet and get asking. But before you do, here are our top tips for making the decision to promote you an extra easy one for your boss.
A big promotion at work may seem like a no-brainer but have a good think about why you want this next step up. Is it because you’re desperately in need of a salary increase? Or perhaps you’re feeling like you need to prove yourself to your manager. If it’s genuinely because you think you can take on more work and because you want to do more for the business – then you’re on to a winner.
But if your motives are more financially or competition-driven, you might not be pursuing this promotion for the right reasons. If you think you’re eligible for a pay increase, but don’t have the capacity for a role change – our tips on how to ask for a raise could be more useful. [link to payrise tips blog]
Long before you approach your manager, you’ll need to get strategic. If an internal promotion opportunity already exists, for instance, if you know somebody senior to you is changing roles or leaving, you should look at what their duties are currently and be honest about your ability to carry them out.
However, if you’re trying to argue the case for a brand new role – you’ve got a bit more work to do. Map out what the business objectives are and how you getting this promotion will help to meet them or otherwise solve one of their problems. Your manager will love that you’ve taken the time to not just consider yourself and your team, but the overall business.
Remember, you might be able to sweet-talk your line manager but they might not be the sole decision-maker here. So be sure to think of tangible evidence as to what makes you the right choice for more responsibility and more money.
Ever heard of the phrase: if you don’t ask, you don’t get? Well unfortunately in most cases, this is true. Those who shout the loudest are often at front of mind for big promotions, and it’s not because hiring managers don’t think you’ll be good for the role. In fact, good managers want nothing more than for their team to grow with the business – it’s more that you need to let your boss know that you’re ready to take on more work. Having said that, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by speaking up at the wrong time. Which brings us on nicely to our next tip for landing that promotion…
Asking for more money can be a bit of a minefield in terms of timing, if business objectives aren’t being met as your manager had hoped – asking for a big change in your team might not be the best decision. So it’s important to consider what else is going on in the business at that time to assess the response your request will get.
Having said that, you’re not a mind-reader. You’re not expected to know when the perfect time is to pop the all-important question, especially if you’re part of a large organisation where business finances are kept under lock and key. Luckily for you, monthly reviews were made for this sort of discussion. You’ll also be able to catch up on going on in the business beforehand to give you a chance to retreat if you sense that the timing might not be so good.
There’s a solid chance you’ll be up against colleagues or perhaps even external candidates with their eyes on the prize. Think long and hard about what makes you the right person for the job and don’t be afraid to self-promote, because your competitors will be doing the same thing.
Being modest, while a great quality to have, isn’t going to make you stand out in this instance. Whether it’s your unmatched knowledge of the business and its processes, your sales prowess or your knack for coming up with new ways of working – don’t be afraid to talk about how great you are, as un-British as it seems!
It doesn’t hurt to get ready for the inevitably awkward questions either. Take a look at your track record of delivering solutions and hitting targets and get ready to use it to your advantage should your employer probe ask you why you deserve that shiny new role over the next person.
Whatever happens, don’t forget that you’re the one in control of your future. If it turns out there’s no scope for a promotion right now, all it means is that you’re in good stead for the next time you see an opportunity. Your superiors are more likely to remember your efforts to land this promotion, so don’t be surprised if you get approached in the future.
However, if you feel like you’ve hit a bit of a plateau at your current place of work and there’s nowhere to go from here – there’s always the option of spreading your wings and taking your bright ideas to pastures new.