How to Ask for a Job Promotion

Asking for a promotion requires some self-promotion.

Asking for a promotion requires some self-promotion.

It could be a promotion in status only, meaning a change in title. Or it could be a promotion in status and salary. Either way, if you believe you’ve earned a promotion, get ready to state your case and support it with reason. Some companies require that you put a job promotion request in writing. Even if your company is more informal, it might help to put your thoughts on paper before you pull up a chair in your supervisor’s office and raise the topic after work hours. Doing so will help you organize your thoughts so that you can present them in a thoughtful and convincing manner. Keep telling yourself: you can do it.

Engage in some friendly but relevant “shop talk,” but don’t lead the conversation too far away from the subject of your promotion. Refer to your most recent work assignment and use it as a segue. For example, you might say: “In fact, this project is one reason I’d like to ask that you consider promoting me to (name the position or title).” Continue making your argument for the promotion before broaching the subject of salary.

Establish a pleasant, non-confrontational tone right from the start so that your supervisor views the exchange as a conversation, not an ultimatum. You might say, for example, “I’ve given this matter a great deal of thought, and here’s how I see things. But please stop me at any time to ask a question or add your point of view.”

List those projects that you have spearheaded or have played a role in and emphasize the outcomes, especially if they have helped generate revenue for the company. Underscore the positives, such as if you completed a project before the deadline date or exceeded expectations in other ways. “Toot your own horn,” but demonstrate a generous spirit by sharing credit with contributing co-workers.

Describe the other ways in which you have proved yourself to be an asset to the company. Frame your contributions in positive ways. For example, rather than saying that you “always work long hours,” say that you are conscientious and dedicated. Cite specific examples, some of which your supervisor may not be aware of and would benefit from learning about.

Convey your enthusiasm for and pride in working for the company. You might say, for example, that you view the promotion as the “next logical step” in what you hope will be a long-term relationship with the company and your colleagues.

Elaborate on why you think the promotion is justified so that your supervisor sees it as a logical progression in your career with the company. Acknowledge that you expect the promotion to come with additional responsibilities, which you are willing and able to embrace.

Address the issue of a pay raise in a diplomatic way. By this point in the conversation, you probably have formed a good sense of how your supervisor is responding to your request for a promotion. Follow your instincts, also taking into consideration what you know about the company’s economic status. You might say, for example, that you would be “happy to entertain” a percentage increase that is “fair to both of us.”

Ask your supervisor if she has any questions about your request. Acknowledge that she may need some time to reflect on it. Then ask when you might follow up with her.

Extend your thanks for your supervisor’s time. Offer to answer any questions she might have. Then extend your thanks again for her time and consideration.

Tips

  • Keep in mind that your supervisor may need extra time to consider your request, especially if she must consult with human resources or other supervisors. Try to be patient in the meantime.
  • A follow-up meeting about your promotion request is usually a better time to provide corroborating information about your salary needs than the initial meeting.
 

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

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