Have You Been Waiting Out a Long Overdue Promotion? Try This Approach to Speed Up the Process

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June 22, 2024 at 10:53PM UTC
You’re feeling pretty bored at work these days. Maybe it’s because you’ve held the same position for several years and are beyond an expert by now, or perhaps you were hired into your company at a level that’s technically beneath your skills. You know you can handle more, and you’re ready for work to feel a bit more challenging. What you’re ready for, you realize, is a promotion. 
But actually getting a promotion, similar to asking for a raise, seems easier said than done, right? Aren’t promotions things that just happen spontaneously (to some people *cough cough* more than others) rather than something you flat-out ask for? Not quite — if you feel certain that you’re deserving of and prepared for a promotion, there are, indeed, a few things you can do to nudge the Big Boss along and negotiate a position boost. Here’s what you should try:

Determine the best time to approach this topic with your boss.

Obviously, some times are going to be better than others to effectively communicate why you deserve a promotion. One particularly logical opportunity for you to do so is during your annual performance review, but also make sure that you’re factoring in for current happenings at your company and even (on a slightly lesser level) in your boss’ life. 

Map out exactly what you’re going to say.

This conversation is too crucial to leave to chance. As anyone remotely versed in communication skills would tell you, you need to study up and have a pretty solid framework for your argument mapped out well in advance. Your pitch should include your major accomplishments and what value you’ve added to the company in highly specific terms. Why were they smart to hire you, and how have you exceeded their expectations?

Be prepared in case numbers come up.

If you’re successful in getting a promotion, chances are that will mean a boost in pay, too. You should not discuss the potential for a raise until you’ve actually been offered the promotion. All the same, if your boss does bring the subject up during your conversation, you don’t want to appear unknowledgeable or uncertain. Do your research, and know in advance how much you’d expect to receive in this new role.

Ask for a recommendation.

Is a higher up vacating a role you think you’d be the perfect fit for? Depending on your relationship with this person, you could express your interest to them and ask if they would be your reference in recommending you as a replacement.

Get the meeting scheduled.

If you’re timing your promotion request to coincide with your annual performance review, this step won’t be necessary. Otherwise, you should send your boss an email requesting a meeting. Make it clear that this meeting has to do with discussing your performance and role within the company; you don’t want your boss to be caught totally off-guard.

Now — execute!

The meeting has arrived. It’s time to blow your boss away with your preparedness! Be confident, be direct, and don’t be a waste of their time.

Follow up.

It’s been over a week since your boss said they’d consider your request, and you’re not sure what to do. At this point, you should try following up with them. Send them a short, professional email asking if they’ve had the opportunity to give more thought to the conversation you had on X day.

If the answer is no — get feedback on how you can improve.

How can you become more qualified so that the next time you ask, the answer is a definite yes? Ask for their feedback — perhaps you should take some online classes or even consider getting your MBA. Maybe you’ll be told that the company is simply restructuring, for instance, and unable to promote you at this time. It’s all still helpful to know.

And/or, ask yourself if it’s time to leave.

At this point, you may be wondering, “Should I quit my job?” If you’ve truly given the role your all for a good chunk of time and find that your efforts are going unrecognized, then maybe. But don’t throw in the towel just because you were told “no” once — if you’re rash in handing in your two week notice, you’re unlikely to rise in the ranks anywhere.
Regardless of the outcome, the most important thing is that you took the initiative to ask for what you wanted. That’s something women, especially, often have a hard time doing. But if you don’t ask, you’re a whole lot less likely to receive.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for asking for a promotion? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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