The thought of asking for a promotion is enough to awaken the butterflies in most people’s stomachs. Reaching out to higher-ups can be nerve-racking, especially in a rough economic climate and against fierce competition. However, if you want to climb the corporate latter there is no way around it – you have to put yourself out there. Promotions aren’t just handed out like candy – you have to work hard and sometimes you have to ask for them.
Ready for a promotion? Here is what you need to know before you sit down for that all-important meeting.
Do your homework! The key to asking for a promotion is all in the preparation. Proof that you are ready to be promoted is essential. Start by making a list of your accomplishments and use these as talking points at the start of the conversation. Be specific and make sure to point to your future potential. Next, identify the position you want and explain why you are ready to fill that role.Provide concrete reasons that prove that you are the right person for the position. For example, if you want to be a team leader give examples of how you have successfully managed smaller teams in the past.
It’s all in the timing. There is no perfect time to ask for a promotion, but certain times are more conducive to the conversation. The most straight-forward time to ask is at your annual or semi-annual review. Don’t let the fact that you are being reviewed make you complacent about the conversation. Make sure you are well-prepared and able to show why you deserve a promotion. Consider what is happening at the company. If there are a lot of changes or advancements in your department ask your boss where he or she sees you fitting in the company. Smart employers value good employees, so even in a tough economy employers want to retain and reward their best assets.
Set up a meeting. If you decide to talk with your boss before your annual review, plan ahead. Request a meeting with your boss, and explain the purpose of the meeting. Be clear when explaining that you want to discuss your performance and potential. Giving your boss advance notices allows him or her to prepare as well, reflecting on your role in the company.
Be ready to negotiate. Once you’ve been offered a promotion, be ready to discuss the numbers. Do your research beforehand and know what you are worth both inside and outside of the company. Use sites like PayScale and Salary.com to see if you can find average pays for your industry and company.When discussing pay be confident. Remember, it is a negotiation so they can always offer you less than you ask for, but they’ll never offer you more. Don’t be afraid to ask high.
Stick with it. If you get the promotion, awesome! If you leave the meeting without a promotion though, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Leave the meeting knowing why you are not getting a promotion. If now is not a good time for the department, ask when you can revisit the conversation. If you are lacking certain qualifications find out what experience you need to gain before you would be considered for a promotion in the future.
Through it all remember, asking for a promotion shows you are a hard worker who wants to do more. That is something that your boss should appreciate and will make you more valuable to the company. The worst possible thing you could do would be not to ask.