How to Ask For a Promotion and Secure It

Ever wondered what it takes to secure your next promotion?

Do you want to know how to ask for a promotion and be reasonably sure of getting it?

One of the best ways to earn extra money is to build on what you already have in place.

And if you are at work – full-time or part-time – you should be setting your sites on a promotion.

Secure your next promotion, get a pay-rise and you will be well placed to be earning extra money which just might make all the difference to your family finances.

These days though promotions don’t come automatically – you need to set your sites on one and work for it.

And it’s all about doing your homework (so that you know what you need to do)

Then it is about doing the groundwork so when you come to have to justify your promotion it becomes a “no brainer” for your boss

Whether you are seeking promotion to a high executive level or the next level above your current one, then thinking about how you are going to achieve that promotion is essential.

How to Ask For A Promotion

You need a plan of action or at least a blueprint to secure your next promotion, and this article aims to help you create your own personal “promotion blueprint”

Do You Really Really (Really) Want to Be Promoted?.

Before we talk about how to ask for a promotion you first of all need to make a decision

In essence, you have to decide whether you really want that promotion because there will almost certainly be trade-offs.

On the one hand, you may get a higher salary and a company car,

But on the other, there is likely to increased responsibility

Plus there is the possibility of losing things you were previously eligible for such as overtime.

Then there is the question of whether you have the ability (or rather don’t think you have the ability) to do the job

(you most likely have, by the way, you may just need to convince yourself).

Take into account any external pressure to “do well” from family or friends.

You have to be sure this is what you want more than anything else

Take out a piece of paper and write everything down, the pros and cons, and then make a decision. “Do I want to be promoted?”

If the answer is a resounding “yes” then let’s move on to the real meat of how to ask for a promotion 

And I can tell you straight off the bat you need need to be able to demonstrate that you are worth it

1. Be Really Good at Your Current Role.

This may seem really obvious (and it is!) but the first thing that any promotion board will look for is excellence in your current activities

And some evidence that you are performing at a level that is above what you are currently paid for.

So simply put,  before you ask for a promotion you need to:

  • Perform your current tasks to the best of your ability. Deliver your tasks on time or ahead of time and to a good standard.
  • Always be communicating where you are with your tasks
  • Aim to stand out among your peers who are on the same level as you and doing similar tasks, Find out what the best of them do and aim to do it better.
  • Demonstrate added value by performing a task that is unassigned to you from time to time. Aim to surprise people every once in a while.
  • Achieve an “exceeds objective” rating in your appraisal – because this is the first thing that a promotion board are likely to look at …

2. Be Efficient In Your Job.

If you are aiming for a role with more responsibility then you will likely have to achieve more in the same amount of time.

This is where you need to be able to learn to be efficient and demonstrate that efficiency.

A good checkpoint here is to check the culture within your company.

For instance – is the culture to work long hours?

If so you should work long hours

More often than not though, most employers will discourage working long hours because it can be detrimental to efficiency.

Working long hours to secure your next promotion isn’t always what is required and may be a sign that you aren’t coping with your workload

Learn how you can work more efficiently in your current role and adopt those strategies.

This may mean delegating work to others but if you can demonstrate a high level of efficiency within the role you currently do, then this is another tick in the box.

3. Achieve recognition.

Doing well within your job is great, but doing well and meeting your objectives is actually what you are paid to do.

But try and do something special, something “above and beyond”.

Aim to get on the front page of the company newsletter for your achievements, or to win an award for what you have done.

Get involved in a community project on behalf of your company or signup for any company scheme which  is maybe outside of your normal responsibilities

The key once again is communication as to where you are and what you are doing.

And then when you come to ask for a promotion you can be sure that you can back up that request

Blow your own trumpet a little (but don’t overdo it).

4. Ensure (The Important) People Know You – Get Noticed

Make sure the management team is aware of your presence so that next time they have a key role available your name will be at the forefront of their minds.

Make sure you attend roadshows or communications sessions and ask a good question (not too many though).

If you do a good piece of work then make sure it is your name attached to it not your bosses

Issues can be good things for building reputations if you are the one who sorts out the problems (but don’t go causing them deliberately!)

Simply take some regular steps to make sure that the people who decide who is promoted know your name.

Don’t overdo it though – overbearing self-promotion is never really a good thing.

Think about it for a minute and put yourself in the shoes of the promotion board.

Who would you promote -someone you know and trust, or someone who may have done an excellent job but you don’t have a clue who they are.

5. Adhere to company policies.

This is actually a really important one and actually more relevant than you might think.

By showing your support of company policies, you’ll show your employer that you have the maturity and responsibility to handle a more senior position.

It’s time to start thinking like a leader, and not a follower.

For instance, make sure you do your time recording on time, or your expenses, or make sure you do all your health and safety education.

Simply put, make sure you don’t appear on anybody’s “blacklist” for not doing the basics

You could also ask your Human Resources as to how to ask for a promotion – there may be certain processes to follow and adhere to

6. Learn About the Job You Will Be Doing.

While the promotion board will perform its own assessment of potential promotion candidates, it is a good idea if you did some research into the job you are aiming for.

Here are some things you could do …

  • Ask others in that department or in a similar capacity about what it’s like being at that level. Find out what they do day to day and week to week
  • Do research to learn about the role and to gain an outline understanding of the responsibilities at the level you are applying to.
  • Spend some time talking to the person who’s currently in that position to find out what the challenges are and try to figure out how you would approach them.

7.  Drive the Promotion Process Yourself – Don’t Wait For Others

This final point is really important because I have seen so many people sit back and wait for the promotion.

When it doesn’t happen bitterness and resentment can creep in,

And suddenly you are blaming everybody for “lack of recognition” when you should actually be pointing the finger at yourself.

Here are some tips to make sure you secure your next promotion

  • Find out about your company’s promotion policy, read it and use it to develop your plan
  • Find out about your company’s promotion procedure and use it to develop your plan. Is there a promotion board and do you present to it? Or is there some sort of submission process?
  • Work out what support you will need from higher management and actively seek it out
  • Make it clear to your manager that you will be going for promotion and when and take steps to manage your manager so that your case appears on or before that date
  • Be self-managing and build your case using what you have learned from your research and drive the process
  • Don’t rely on your manager. Rely on yourself.

Above all remember that you are in charge and it is only you that can secure the professional future you want and deserve.

Embrace your power, stand up and be counted, and take the steps you need to take to go for that promotion.

It may be a long campaign as you build up collateral but it will be worth it.

I hope by reading this article that you understand a little bit better how to ask for a promotion

All I can wish you is good luck in everything you do

Read more success tips here

Read more on promotion here

“how to ask for a promotion (and get it) ” was first published in 2013 and updated and republished in 2021

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