How to Ask for a Promotion

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Step 1.

trimmedstackof100dollarbills2_Thumb.jpg Asking for a promotion is very similar to asking for a raise. It requires a compelling, fact-based case on why you deserve more responsibility and compensation. What makes a promotion different from a raise is that involves not just compensation components, but also organizational changes, which can be the tip of the iceberg. However, the most common reason one doesn’t get a promotion is that it isn’t earned.

The first step is to identify what the requirements of next job up are. If you are already performing at that level, and can demonstrate it with facts, then consider step 2.

Step 2.

shake01_Thumb.jpg A promotion can be defined as an increase in responsibility with a corresponding change in title and compensation. In many cases, the promotion is the next step in the chosen career path, or it may be move into a more responsible position in a different career path.

The word most inappropriately associated with promotion is “deserve.” One often hears, “I deserve that promotion.” Really? Doubtful. Companies, particularly public companies, exist for the improved wellbeing of the owners(shareholders). The only thing employees are entitled too is fair treatment as defined by law.

If you have examined and can document not just higher performance, but also leadership, now is the time to ask. Don’t just ask, but demonstrate in a private meeting, with a compelling presentation, how promoting you is good for the company and its bottom line.

Step 3.

consider_Thumb.jpg Unfortunately, in modern American culture, there exists an entitlement mentality. While working hard and “paying your dues” are good things, they are expected! To earn a promotion, one has to demonstrate capacity above expectation. So what does that mean?

Performing above expectation is not only meeting all targets and goals in a timely manner, but showing the initiative to do more. It is also exceeding targets and goals and adding to company’s value.

Going back to step 2, you have to be able to demonstrate and document how you exceed targets and goals, as well how you work “at the next level.”

Do you notice a theme? Documentation is critical, as promotions are based on empirical data.

Step 4.

happy33_Thumb.jpg If one can seriously and honestly consider the points above, and still think you should get a promotion, then go for it! Put together a fact-based presentation, schedule a meeting, and put it on the table. Don’t be surprised if the answer is “no” or “not now,” as the organization might require change, and that isn’t taken lightly (or shouldn’t be!).

You can find this and other great articles at “Ask a Manager ,” at

If a promotion isn’t possible, consider asking for a raise. Be willing to negotiate. However, if you don’t have the facts to support you, it will be a futile effort.


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