The prospect of moving up the ranks, taking on more responsibilities, and reaping the rewards of hard work is an idea at the forefront of many ambitious minds.
But, getting there isn’t always easy. You have to be prepared to stand up and advocate for yourself and be your own biggest supporter.
You also have to be aware of some key insights and techniques that will help you on your way to developing your career.
In this blog post, we’ll cover:
- When to ask for a promotion,
- Tips on how to ask for a promotion,
- How to justify a promotion to your boss,
- What not to do when asking for a promotion, and
- FAQs about asking for a promotion.
We’ve also prepared scripts you can follow to make it easier to ask for the promotion you know you deserve.
Table of Contents
There are a couple of questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about a promotion, according to Becca Carnahan, a Career Coach and Founder of Next Chapter Careers:
“The right time to ask for a promotion will be different for every individual and for every company. However, some key things to consider as you’re thinking about making your ask are:
- How have my accomplishments benefited the business in the past 6 months/1 year?
- What accomplishments can I point to that are above and beyond my current job description?
- What key skills and experiences would make me successful in the next level role?”
There is no perfect time to ask for a promotion, but there are some circumstances that can boost your chances of getting one.
Here are a couple of examples of situations that can indicate you’re all set for a promotion:
If you’ve been working hard for a prolonged time at your current position and feel like you’re ready for more, it’s a good time to ask for a promotion.
You probably feel like you know everything there is to know about your current job and new experiences that come with a new position would be refreshing. You are familiar with what the next step in your career would entail and you feel ready for the challenge.
The good news is that employers usually prefer to fill in open positions by promoting current employees, rather than hiring new ones. That’s where your familiarity and experience within the company will prove useful.
Your job duties can change over time, and after some time, your job description may not fit the work you actually do.
Take a look at your job description and the duties you were given when you started your job. Then, think about your current duties and responsibilities and ask yourself if your job description properly reflects your work. If not, asking for a promotion can be the right next step.
Pay special attention to any leadership or management tasks or any other significantly more involved tasks you’re completing outside of your job description. This can often be a natural progression into a higher position.
If you’ve been more involved and have taken on more responsibilities and duties than your original job description demands, it’s a good indication that you are eligible for a promotion.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Job descriptions are not meant to be followed to a T, and it’s natural that you will sometimes do tasks outside of your job description. But sometimes you need to set boundaries and draw the line of what you’re willing to do. Take a look at our article to find out more about professional ways to say “That’s not my job”:
All of your employee reviews have consistently been great, you’ve been hitting your targets and going above and beyond, and you’ve learned and grown significantly since you started working. It’s time for a promotion!
Here are a couple of steps you can take to assess your performance and progress in your current role in the company:
- Look back on every employee review and positive feedback from your superiors.
- Assess the impact your work has had on your team and the company.
- Think about your development from when you started working until the current moment.
All of these factors will help you build a strong case for a promotion.
You’ve now established that you’re ready to ask for a promotion. How exactly do you do that in a professional and polite manner?
Let’s go over some tips that will help you prepare for your upcoming conversation about a promotion.
Before asking for a promotion, make sure you fully understand the duties and responsibilities you will be taking on in the new position.
If your company has a job listing online, carefully read all of the information in the ad. Consider the additional benefits, responsibilities, and workload.
Ask yourself if you see yourself in this position and whether it’s the right job for you. Being introspective is important, according to Becca Carnahan:
“Ask yourself: ‘Do I want the next level role?’
We often think that we should be climbing the corporate ladder, but it’s very important to think about the skills you enjoy using and the environments in which you thrive. Make sure you are advocating for the right job, not just the next job.”
Additionally, if an employee is leaving and their position is being left vacant, talk to them about their role and experiences. They can even help you out during your interviewing process or write a letter of recommendation.
Finally, research the job online to get a better idea of the job market and what the expectations are. For example, you may be asked what compensation you’re looking for in the new position. Be prepared to support your opinions with facts and figures.
You’ve tried looking up current available positions within your company, but nothing relevant comes up. Does it mean you should give up for the time being? Not necessarily.
The path to a promotion is not always clear. Employees quitting, retiring, being fired, or being promoted can all lead to a vacant position. However, this is not always predictable and can come at short notice.
Speaking to others in the company and asking around about job opportunities can prepare you for a job opening before it becomes official. Water cooler talk, or grapevine communication, can sometimes provide useful information.
Before scheduling a formal meeting where you pitch your idea for a promotion, it may be useful to informally talk to your manager about it.
If your company culture and relationship with your manager allow it, you can bring up the subject of promotion in an informal setting. For example, start the conversation by asking your manager about the growth opportunities for your position while chatting in the office. Or, you can suggest taking on coaching responsibilities when a new team member joins the team.
Furthermore, during your employee reviews, let your manager know that you are open to growth opportunities in the future.
These conversations will help you determine whether or not your manager sees you as a good fit for a promotion and what you can expect when an opportunity lines up.
We’ve already established a couple of situations where you may feel it’s time for a promotion. However, it’s a good idea to also take a look at the current state of your company before asking for a promotion.
For example, if your company is going through a crisis and had to lay off employees, it may not be the smartest idea to ask for a promotion.
Conversely, if your company’s profits have been on an upward trajectory for the last year, you can safely assume that a promotion is within budget.
Furthermore, if your job has you dealing with big clients or making remarkable sales, don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage. For example, if you’ve just made a sale that exceeded expectations, your manager will be more likely to reward you with a promotion.
The key to success is to be prepared, according to Shirley Borg, the Head of Human Resources at EnergyCasino:
“Preparation is key. Research comparable roles within the industry to understand where your current compensation and responsibilities lie. Be prepared to negotiate and clearly express your value proposition.
It can be helpful to role-play the conversation with a mentor or coach to ensure you’re prepared for any potential pushback or questions.”
Therefore, take your time to prepare for the conversation about your promotion.
The conversation should flow smoothly and be informative and professional. To make this happen, you should prepare ahead of time by thinking about or writing down all of your talking points.
One of the most important aspects you should be highlighting are your achievements and the work you’ve done for the company. Don’t forget to mention specific projects you’ve completed or goals you’ve reached. Also, point out how you can benefit the company in the new role.
Furthermore, think about all the questions your manager may have for you and prepare your answers. For example, your manager may ask you why you want to change positions and whether you’re satisfied with the current one. Or, they may be interested to know if the different schedules will work for your work-life balance. Consider the avenues your conversation may take you, and be prepared to answer questions.
It’s a great idea to write down your main talking points and practice before your meeting. However, if you would like to have a full pitch to practice with and have in front of you while you’re in the meeting, we have some pitches prepared later on in the text.
When you’ve prepared your pitch, you’re ready to set the ball rolling.
A conversation about a promotion is a serious one, so make sure to set aside time for a constructive conversation.
Send a message to your manager asking about the best time to set up a meeting. It can be a virtual meeting or an in-person one.
Make sure you clearly state that the intention of the meeting is to talk about the possibility of a promotion. This will give your manager enough time to prepare for the conversation. However, keep the introduction message short and talk about the details during the meeting.
During the meeting, remember to stay professional and polite.
Get straight to the point and be concise. Deliver your pitch directly and confidently. Your manager will appreciate your confidence and the fact that you know what you want.
However, do be prepared for a dialogue. This isn’t a one-way conversation where you present your pitch and hang up. Your manager will probably have some questions or comments. Remain polite and professional even when confronted with unexpected situations.
Shirley Borg highlights the importance of staying respectful even when faced with rejection:
“Remember, asking for a promotion is a normal part of professional growth. Be honest, direct, and respectful in your approach, and don’t be disheartened if the answer is not what you’d hoped. The discussion itself will show initiative and open the door for future opportunities.”
Following a script can be a beneficial tool for many people, especially those struggling with confrontation or anxiety. We’ve prepared scripts for various situations that will help you be more confident in your delivery.
They are just the start of your conversation with your manager, so be prepared for questions and further discussions, but these scripts will help you start out on the right foot.
Here’s a general script you can use for pretty much any position and situation — you just need to fill in the specific information:
“Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my career development with you.
I’ve been dedicated to my job and have consistently delivered excellent results, including [specific achievements, goals, or projects]. I’ve learned and grown so much in the last [time period], and I’m ready for the next step.
I would love to challenge myself with the added responsibilities and duties that come with the [desired position]. As it is currently open, I would like to express my interest in filling this role, as I feel that I would thrive in this new position.
My performance reviews have consistently been very positive, and your feedback has helped me grow a lot. So, your opinion really matters to me. What do you think about this idea?”
If you need a script on how to ask for a promotion and a raise at the same time, we have one for you:
“I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about my career growth.
I wanted to start off by saying I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working here, and I remain committed to the success of our company.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about advancing my career. For the last [period of time], I’ve gladly taken on much more responsibility. It’s been challenging but rewarding seeing how I deal with leadership situations and more duties. My role in the [successful project] is an example of my growing skills.
I would like to discuss the possibility of a promotion and a raise with you.
What are your thoughts on this idea?”
If you’re not sure how direct communication will be received, we’ve prepared a compelling but indirect script that doesn’t use the word “promotion”:
“Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. I wanted to discuss my career path in [company name].
I’ve been working here for [time period], and I’ve enjoyed my time here. I appreciate the learning opportunities and feel attached to the company’s values and goals.
In the past [time period] I’ve taken on more responsibilities, such as [specific responsibilities]. I’ve also had success in all of my projects, such as [specific projects].
I would love the opportunity to grow even further and expand my knowledge and experience. I value your insight, and any guidance you have on how I can further expand my career is welcome.”
Here’s a longer script that you can use as an email template if you’re planning to ask for a promotion over email:
“Hello, [Supervisor’s name],
I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to have a conversation with you about my career growth opportunities within the company.
I’ve been reflecting on my role and the value I’ve been able to bring to [specific projects or achievements]. Over the past [time period], I’ve taken on additional responsibilities such as [tasks or projects you’ve tackled beyond your current role]. These experiences have allowed me to develop skills that I believe align with the responsibilities of [desired position]. I would be honored to contribute even more to the team’s success in this position.
Your insight and feedback on my performance so far would be greatly appreciated. I’m also interested in understanding the company’s vision and goals for the [specific department or team] and how I can continue to contribute to that vision. If there’s an opportunity for advancement, I’d like to express my interest in being considered for a [specific position] based on my track record and the skills I’ve acquired.
I understand that promotions are based on a combination of factors, and I’m committed to further enhancing my skills and delivering exceptional results. I’m eager to continue learning and growing.
Thank you for taking the time to discuss my career aspirations. I look forward to hearing from you, hopefully with good news.
All the best,
If your company has annual reviews, it can be a good opportunity to talk to your manager about a promotion. Here’s a script on how that can go:
“Thank you for the feedback on my work for the past year. I appreciate your compliments and value your opinions.
In light of that, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you about my career advancement options.
I’ve been in this position for [period of time], and over time my role has evolved drastically. I enjoy the additional responsibilities and appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given. During this time, I’ve led many successful projects, such as [specific projects]. I’ve enjoyed learning more and developing my [specific skills].
Considering my accomplishments and responsibilities in this job, I wanted to discuss the possibility of a promotion.
We can certainly schedule another meeting to discuss this in more detail.
What are your thoughts?”
If you’re not sure how the conversation may go, we’ve also prepared a couple of examples of full conversations you can expect to have with your manager.
Here’s an example of a conversation that can happen when you ask your manager for a promotion:
“Employee (E): Good morning, [name of supervisor]! I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to talk to you about my professional development within the company.
Manager (M): Good morning, [employee name]! What’s on your mind?
E: Well, over the past year, I’ve been working on various projects and taking on additional responsibilities beyond my current role. I’ve enjoyed the challenges and learned a lot along the way.
M: I’ve noticed your dedication and the positive impact you’ve had on these projects. That was impressive to see.
E: Thanks so much, I really appreciate that. I’ve been thinking about my career goals, and I think I’m ready to take on more responsibility. I’m interested in discussing the possibility of a promotion.
M: That’s great to hear, [employee name]! Can you tell me more about what you’re looking for in your next role?
E: Absolutely. I’ve been developing my skills in [name specific skills relevant to the desired position], and I believe they’ll mesh well with the duties of [desired position]. I would love the opportunity to contribute at a higher level and develop within the company.
M: I appreciate your enthusiasm and commitment to your growth. I’ll take some time to review your performance and discuss your potential with the team. Are there specific areas you’d like to work on to strengthen your application for this position?
E: I’d like to focus on improving my leadership skills and deepening my knowledge in [specific area]. I’m also open to any feedback you can provide to help me prepare for this next step.
M: That sounds like a solid plan. Let’s schedule a follow-up meeting in a few weeks to discuss your progress and possible next steps.
E: I really appreciate your support and guidance, [supervisor name]. Thanks so much for considering my ambitions!
M: You’re welcome! Keep up the good work!”
Here’s an example of how a conversation about a promotion between a manager and employer happened via Pumble, a team messaging app:
According to Becca Carnahan, approaching the conversation with the company in mind is important:
“You can advocate for yourself based on accomplishments and skills, but approaching the ask with a ‘this will be good for me’ theme is missing a key part — how will your promotion benefit the company? If you can explain how you have been successful in your role and how that has prepared you to take on next-level responsibilities and drive value for the business, that is a much stronger argument.”
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to justify your request for a promotion.
Firstly, you should highlight your responsibilities and duties in your current position.
You can point out specific examples, such as big projects or profitable sales, to make your case stronger. Your boss or manager will appreciate having concrete examples of your hard work and dedication.
Moreover, include positive feedback you’ve been given and elaborate on what you’ve been doing to improve further.
A promotion usually comes with the added responsibility of being in a leadership position.
Present your manager with concrete examples of when you took on a leadership role in your team.
In your day to day, make sure to encourage your team members to do their best and support them when needed. Prove your leadership skills by helping out team members or training new hires. It will not go unnoticed by your manager.
Taking on additional tasks and duties is a strong indication that you’re ready to take on a new challenge.
Think of examples of you volunteering to do additional tasks — whether it’s to help out a team member or to get the job done faster — and present them to your manager to showcase your commitment.
Furthermore, think about how your role has evolved over time and include the additional responsibilities you have taken on since starting your job.
All of this information will prove useful when making your case for a promotion, as it shows that you are more than capable of handling a higher level of responsibility.
When you’ve gone over your achievements in your current role, shift the perspective and mention your plans for the potential new position.
This will be easier if you’ve already researched and familiarized yourself with the ins and outs of the job. You can present concrete plans and goals you would like to achieve in the new position.
Presenting concrete ideas will show your manager that you’re passionate about the prospects of the new job and not just going through the motions of corporate life.
With our tips and pitches, you are a step closer to confidently making your case for a promotion.
However, there are a few common mistakes people make when asking for a promotion that you want to avoid. Our contributor, Becca Carnahan, thinks being unprepared is the biggest mistake you can make when asking for a promotion:
“Make sure to come prepared for the conversation. Set up a time to speak with your manager and prepare your talking points so that you can clearly and confidently articulate what you’ve done and how you’ll add even more value in your next role. Being unprepared for the conversation will make you look unprofessional and unserious.”
Let’s look at what you should never do when asking for a promotion.
Firstly, you should never compare yourself to other team members.
This is your job and your chance of a promotion, not an opportunity to put down others. Talk about your own achievements and goals, and steer clear of mentioning anyone else. Comparing yourself to others to show how great you are is a surefire way to land a meeting with HR for gossiping and bad-mouthing colleagues.
Therefore, stick to how you can make the company better in the new position and why you are the right candidate for a promotion.
Another way to miss the mark for a promotion is to come to the conversation unprepared.
Even if you’re an extremely confident and outgoing person who knows exactly what they have to offer and you can think on your feet, you will still benefit from preparing to ask for a promotion.
It doesn’t need to be in the form of a complete script, but make sure to jot down the most crucial talking points you want to mention.
If you struggle with confrontation or have anxiety when advocating for yourself, sticking to a prepared script may ease your nerves.
In any case, Benjamin Franklin’s words hold true:
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
You’ve been with the company for a couple of years, and you’re excellent at your job. You consistently go above and beyond, and your position has evolved. Surely, you deserve to be promoted, right? Well, not necessarily.
Your company hired you for the job that you currently do, so any changes to your position need to be justified. That’s why you need to make your case by showing how you can benefit the company in a new position.
Thinking you’re entitled to a promotion will lead you down a path of resentment and disappointment if you don’t get promoted.
After all of your hard work preparing for the meeting and presenting your case to your manager, you hear the dreaded answer: “No.”
It can be hard to deal with rejection, but one thing you should never do is get emotional in any way. Shouting, getting angry, or crying are not the way to go. Don’t take the rejection personally. Stay calm and finish the meeting in a polite and professional manner.
Afterward, think about the feedback you got from your manager and what you can do to boost your chances of getting a promotion next time. Reflect on your work and improve in areas that need it.
At the end of the day, you have made your wishes clear and got valuable feedback you can use to improve, so not all is lost.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Emotional intelligence is an essential skill, especially in the workplace. Many leaders even believe that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ for leadership roles. To learn more about emotional intelligence, read our blog post:
Companies that will promote you without you asking are few and far between. What’s more, your manager may assume that you are satisfied with your current role and not recommend you for a promotion.
Therefore, asking for a promotion is often necessary if you want to expand your career. So, don’t wait around and hope your achievements will be noticed — show them off.
To close out the subject of asking for a promotion, we’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions about promotion and answered them for you. Let’s take a look.
Asking for a promotion can be an intimidating experience due to many factors.
The psychological barrier can be created because of:
- Fear of rejection,
- Fear of damaging relationships with team members or superiors, and
- Uncertainty of your own worth.
Many people experience imposter syndrome. This causes them to feel inadequate and to doubt their competence and abilities.
The power dynamics of having to ask for a promotion also make some people uncomfortable. You have to put yourself in a vulnerable position and risk being rejected.
Additionally, talking about money can add an extra layer of discomfort, due to the societal norms surrounding discussions about finances.
There are many factors that make asking for a promotion a nerve-wracking experience, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your goals.
To overcome these fears, you will need a blend of:
- Effective communication skills, and
- Sometimes, a bit of luck.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Asking tough questions at work, such as asking for a promotion, can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, we have a blog post dedicated to asking tough questions at work. Click below to find out more:
The timing of a promotion is a nuanced question. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the question of how long is too long without a promotion.
There are many factors at play when it comes to the timing of a promotion, such as:
- Industry standards,
- Company health,
- Individual performance, and
- The specific position.
Although it’s a great idea to assess your performance and growth every or every other year, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be promoted each time.
However, if you feel like you’re stagnating, it’s a good idea to talk to your supervisor about career development.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that career development doesn’t just mean promotions. You can grow professionally by:
- Lateral moves,
- Skill development, and
- Expanded responsibilities and duties.
Therefore, don’t fixate on a timeline of when you “should” be getting promoted, but rather approach your career development in a more flexible way.
Positioning yourself for a promotion should be a long-term process.
Firstly, you should be consistently delivering exceptional results in your current role. This shows your dedication and competence.
Show interest in advancing in your career by taking the initiative to tackle challenges and displaying a proactive attitude. Seek out opportunities for growth and go out of your comfort zone to learn new skills. For example, take on leadership roles in projects to showcase your ability to handle increased responsibilities.
Additionally, keep your boss informed about your achievements and contributions. That way, when it comes time to ask for a promotion, your boss will be aware of how much you contribute to the team.
Focus on long-term growth and maintain open communication with your supervisor to boost your chances of a promotion in the future.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Feedback is an important part of career development, and asking for feedback should be in your skill set. It will not only help you learn and grow, but it will also make your boss aware that you are dedicated and committed to your job. Learn more about how to ask for feedback by following the link below:
Getting promoted is usually not a quick process. But, there are ways you can ensure a faster advancement in your career.
Stay on top of your game in your current role, and make sure you are exceeding expectations in everything you do.
Enhance your skill set by seeking out professional growth opportunities, such as seminars, workshops, or courses. You can learn specific skills needed for the position you are aiming for.
Also, networking and meeting new people can provide visibility and potential advocates for your promotion.
Furthermore, communicate with your manager about your goals and aspirations to make them aware of your aspirations. They can also help you out on your way to a promotion.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s not always easy to get a promotion, let alone get it in a short time. Therefore, make sure you strike a balance — while working towards your aspirations for a swift advancement, maintain a focus on quality work and a healthy work-life balance. This will ensure a sustainable and healthy career trajectory.
As we’ve already covered, comparing yourself to others is not the way to go. Everyone has a different path in life and in their career.
You should focus on yourself and your growth, rather than comparing yourself to others. You never know the full story behind someone else’s success. Maybe the person who has worked in the company for a shorter period of time and got promoted has a lot more experience than you. Or maybe the team member who you thought was slacking off actually carried the whole team on their shoulders behind the scenes, and that’s why they got the promotion.
Therefore, you should focus on your own career and what you can do to advance it, and not on the careers of others around you.
As the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
You can feel something is different about your job, but you can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Maybe it’s your manager gearing up to promote you.
There are a few signs that can indicate that a promotion is right around the corner for you.
One of the most promising signs is increased responsibilities. If your manager is entrusting you with additional responsibilities and projects beyond your current scope of work, they may be preparing you for a promotion.
Additionally, if you’re frequently getting praised by higher-ups and receiving positive feedback for your work, it can also be a sign of an incoming promotion.
Has your boss suddenly started talking to you about your career development and the goals you have? It can indicate that they are thinking about giving you the opportunity for growth.
Furthermore, if you find yourself increasingly involved in decision-making or strategy planning discussions within your team, it may be a nod from your manager that you are ready for more.
These signs are positive, but they are not guarantees of a promotion. So, continue to work hard and develop your skills to be sure you will land a promotion in the future.
As we conclude this blog post, remember that promotions are not solely about achieving a new title or a bigger paycheck. It’s a testament to your dedication, hard work and the value you bring to the organization.
The road to career advancement is paved with continuous learning, determination, and open communication. So, if you’ve been excelling at these and want to take the leap, follow our tips to make the jump easier.
Be your own biggest supporter, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and take what you deserve. Your confidence and pursuit of excellence will not only elevate your career but inspire those around you.
✉️ What about you? Have you ever asked for a promotion? What are some of the tips and tricks you may have to share with us when it comes to asking for a promotion?
Let us know at email@example.com and we might include your input in this or future posts. If you found this article helpful, share it with someone who would also benefit from it.