Asking for a promotion can be a truly intimidating event. You know a promotion is deserved, you know you are qualified, and yet sitting down with a superior and arguing your case is a gigantic leap. It can be difficult to make yourself feel vulnerable, especially to higher-ups in your company.
However, asking for a promotion can also be one of the most important things you can do for your career. After all, promotions are seldom just handed out; you have to work—and ask—for them. Read on to learn how to best make your case and ask for a promotion.
Do Your Research
Before you can ask for a promotion, it’s paramount that you understand the role’s qualifications and requirements to be able to prove that you are the best candidate for the job. This means doing your due diligence and taking the time to consider the successes you have already had in you career up to this point. This is great evidence that showcases your value up front; your past accomplishments can show what you are capable of in the future.
Next, understand how these past successes set you up to be a worthy candidate of this specific position. Have anecdotes ready that demonstrate why you are the right person for the job. It’s one thing to say you meet all the requirements and qualifications, but having specific examples at the ready paint a better picture when you are making your case.
Timing Is Key—With One Caveat
Like all things, when it comes to asking for a promotion, timing is key. However, acknowledge that there will never be a perfect time to ask for a promotion—and don’t let that scare you away from asking for one.
Some times are better than others when it comes to broaching the promotion conversation. A review is a perfect time to ask for a promotion because you and your superior are already discussing your performance and where your career is headed in the company. This makes bringing up a potential promotion an easy segue.
However, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to wait for a formal review. Maybe the climate of your team is changing; team members might be moving to different teams (or different companies altogether) or perhaps your department’s role is shifting. Bringing up the possibility of a promotion could be warranted if there is already a healthy amount of change happening around you and the company.
If you are asking for a promotion outside of a review, schedule a meeting with your boss so he or she isn’t caught off-guard and knows what you want to discuss. This gives him or her a chance to evaluate your performance before the meeting, leading to a more thoughtful discussion.
Know Your Worth
Chances are, you won’t discuss salary hikes in the initial meeting. However, if the discussion continues and you do get the promotion, be sure you know your worth and negotiate accordingly. You’ll never be able to ask for too much money as long its based on your research; your company will simply tell you no and counter. Be able to explain why you are asking for what you are asking for and again, have specific examples on hand that demonstrate where your numbers come from and why you deserve the salary increase. This makes your case as concrete as possible.
If All Else Fails…
If you find yourself struggling in your current position and have exhausted all means to obtain a promotion, contact a recruiter in your field.
Burchard & Associates is an executive search firm specialized in accounting and finance recruiting across all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution, healthcare, financial services, and more.