How to ask for a promotion

Asking for a promotion can be stressful, especially if competition is fierce or if the company is going through a challenging period financially. But with some clever preparation, a tactful approach, and solid negotiation skills, you’ll be in a firm position to take the next step in your career.

This content comes to you thanks to our friends at Michael Page.

 Define your goals

Before setting up a meeting with your manager to discuss a promotion, have a clear idea in your mind of exactly what you want to achieve from your next career move. Is your main motivating factor a higher salary? Would you accept a promotion if it meant advancing your skills but only a small pay rise? Considering these factors will ensure you’re well prepared to discuss all the options on the table, and you’ll know ahead of time the alternatives you’d be willing to accept.

 Do your research

While a salary increase isn’t always the driver behind a promotion, asking for more responsibility usually goes hand in hand with asking for a pay rise. Back up your case by researching average market rates for your desired role. Take a look at our Salary Guide to see current benchmarks for your sector, skill level and location. Go into the meeting with two figures in mind – a salary you’d be thrilled with, and one you’d settle for. When it comes time to negotiate, start at the high end so you have room to move.

 Prove your value

 If you can show you’re irreplaceable to the business, you’ll have far more leverage in asking for a promotion. Make a list of all your quantifiable achievements and have it on hand during the meeting. Were you integral to the success of an important project? Did you streamline a process that positively impacted the business’ bottom line? Use numbers wherever possible to show that your value is measurable and crucial to the company’s success.

 Keep the business’ goals in mind

 When putting your case forward, it’s important to consider your manager’s goals and the wider goals of the business. Highlight how you can contribute to the success of your team, support your manager on a day-to-day basis, and help meet the business’ overall objectives.

 Consider the timing

Timing is imperative when asking for a promotion. Your annual review is a good opportunity to discuss your strong performance with your manager and talk about where your career is headed. If that’s not possible, make sure to set up the meeting at a time when your manager will be clear-headed and focused. Also consider the movements within your department – are colleagues leaving or organisational changes taking place? Moments like these are a chance to step up and talk to your manager about where you’ll fit in as the company progresses.