Asking for a promotion can be one of the most daunting tasks young businesspeople face throughout their careers. We get it, putting yourself out there is tough. You’ll likely ask yourself many questions, like what will they think of me? Or even worse, if they say no? What happens then?
Is This You?
Jenny works a 9-5. She is a senior employee on a hyper-successful business development team. Last year, her team as a whole smashed its target by 27%.
While the entire team showed massive success, Jenny has statistically led the way for the past two years. She has seen a steady increase in her annual salary since joining the firm four years ago.
However, Jenny feels that her team’s success would not have been possible without her performance. In fact, she’s sure of it. But she doesn’t want to bring this up to her manager and sound like she’s not a team player.
Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry. The fear of asking for a promotion is something that businesspeople everywhere struggle with today. But your competition isn’t as fierce as you might think. And if you come prepared, you’ll be able to ask your manager for a promotion and feel confident about it.
Take these statistics, for example:
Some Key Statistics About Asking For a Promotion
- While 82% of employees want to discuss potential career advancement with their managers at least 1-4 times per year, a shocking 40% never do.
- 52% of employees are looking or would consider leaving their company because of compensation, 43% career advancement, and 19% lack of recognition.
- In 2020, 35% of employees plan to look for a new job, 33% are not planning to look for a new job, and 32% are undecided.
The main takeaway from these statistics is that the overwhelming majority of workers are either not asking for a promotion, or not even entirely sure about what direction they’re heading for their career. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that.
The good news for you is that you now know that your competition probably isn’t as severe as you might have thought.
Yes, no matter how you slice it, asking for a promotion can be a mentally taxing ordeal. But fret not, friends. This week, our team researched three simple hacks about asking for a promotion that everyone needs to know. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to march up to your boss and demand a raise! (completely joking).
To paraphrase, by the end of this article you should have a stable enough understanding of the factors going into asking for a promotion that will allow you to decide whether or not it’s something you’ll want to do. Let’s break them down.
1. Before Asking for a Promotion, You Should Ask for a Meeting
I don’t know about anyone else, but the last thing I’d do is walk right up to my superior and request a higher position, or worse, send an email asking for a promotion.
Sure, that might literally be the definition of asking for a promotion, but think about it. It’s not a small request, and there’s a fair amount of planning that must go into your decision to request a promotion.
Your first step should be to request a meeting. This way, you’ll have communicated to your manager or team leader that you’re serious enough about the role to want to sell yourself and your accomplishments.
Additionally, this gives you the opportunity to make the necessary preparations. Now, not only have you shown your team leader that you mean business, but you’ll have the opportunity to sit down with them and drill down into the reasons why you’re the perfect candidate for a promotion.
So, as a start, make sure you ask for a meeting to discuss a promotion, rather than outright asking for one out of the blue. If you’re unsure of what to say, we’ve included a script for inspiration below.
[LOYAL TSB SUBSCRIBER]:
“Hi <Name>, do you have some time this week to sit down and discuss my performance? I think I’ve been doing some quality work and wanted to discuss some potential options to take on more responsibilities.
Notice, “to take on more responsibilities.” We didn’t say “Hi Jim! I wanted to talk about you giving me a promotion!” There’s a reason you don’t want to start with that directly. Which brings us to our next hack…
2. When Asking for a Promotion, Plan Ahead
This may go without saying, but if you’re going to ask for a promotion (especially if you’re not the most tenured employee on your team), then you’d better plan ahead as much as possible.
Here’s what you should come prepared with before requesting a meeting with your manager:
- Competitive salary information
- A list of your top achievements since joining the firm or team (Facts, not opinions).
- Quantifiable, measurable metrics for presentation
Competitive Salary Information
Having competitive salary information is crucial for knowing your worth in general. Being able to compare your salary to someone in a comparable role provides useful information for your decision-maker. Websites like salary.com or even LinkedIn Premium provide competitive salary information for use.
However, our recommendation is to use salary.com since it’s free. To use their platform, simply head over to their homepage and type in the job title you want information about. You can even break this down by location, providing a more targeted search.
After you’ve entered your information, you should see a page like this:
From this page, the site lets you compare jobs, look for job openings, and even view common benefits. Truthfully, salary.com is far more dynamic than even I am letting on. But for our purposes of finding competitive salary information, this should be more than enough.
An Achievement Shortlist
A shortlist of your top achievements since joining your team or firm. This speaks for itself. If you’re going to ask for a promotion, you should be able to back this request with both qualitative and quantitative context.
In this case, a breakdown of your most memorable and impactful accomplishments is qualitative information. Closed a big sale that won over an account for your team? Took on extra leadership roles that your coworkers didn’t? These are the types of achievements you’ll want to come prepared with for presentation to your team leader.
On the other hand, there is quantitative information. This type of context is the meat and potatoes of your presentation. For example – Karina, an apple saleswoman, is planning to ask her boss for promotion to Head of Apple Sales on the East Coast. Here are some quantitative accomplishments she’d present to her decision-maker:
- “I sold 50,000 apples in 12 months, which is 30% more than the next highest performing apple salesperson.”
- “I sold 70 more premium (more expensive) apples than any other salesperson on the team in 12 months.”
Generally, providing a timeframe along with your accomplishments within that timeframe is a simple way to start firing off some of those numbers for yourself.
Plan ahead with these three items and you’ll be all set for a compelling presentation.
3. Be Considerate to Your Team
If you’re thinking about leveraging an outside offer to ask for a promotion, reconsider.
This is a risky tactic for numerous reasons. Multiple experts say that using ultimatums is not an effective way to influence people, especially a manager. Not only that but if this doesn’t work out for you, you’ll have lost some favor within your team.
Additionally, this might result in you being thrust into a role you aren’t ready for, or worse, you don’t deserve.
Of course, if you desperately need a promotion or more financial security, you have to what you have to do. But if possible, your best bet would be to steer clear of trying to threaten your leadership team subtly.
4. Timing is Critical
Some people live and die by the phrase, “There’s no time like the present!” Well, when it comes to asking for a promotion, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Timing is, without a doubt, a critical factor to consider when thinking about requesting a meeting to discuss the promotion.
You should make a habit of understanding your workplace climate. Keep an eye out for certain factors that could affect your chances of promotion. Is the business currently struggling to the point where it clearly can’t afford to promote you? Did one of your coworkers recently get promoted, which prompted you to seek promotion for yourself?
These are questions you should ask yourself before making your request; the last thing you want is for your higher-ups to view you as someone out of the loop or ignorant to the state of the firm.
On the other hand, there are also optimal times to seek a promotion. Most firms hold annual reviews for their employees, where decision-makers examine their accomplishments over the latest twelve months.
Many studies show that this is a productive time to request a promotion. And as a bonus, you’ll already be in a meeting for your annual review, killing two birds with one stone!
- If you’re planning on asking for a promotion sometime soon, don’t just ask for one out of the blue. Ask for a meeting to discuss a promotion. This will give you the opportunity to sell yourself.
- Planning ahead is essential if you’re planning on asking for a promotion. You should have qualitative and quantitative information ready to present to your team leader when the time comes.
- Timing is critical. Make sure you understand the climate of your workplace. Is it a good time for you to ask for a promotion? If you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask a trustworthy coworker or superior.
- An optimal time to request a meeting for a promotion is during your annual review with your manager/team leader
What do you think? Have you been considering asking for a promotion? Did this guide help you come to your decision? Drop a comment below and get the conversation started! Also, if you enjoyed this article, you’ll love our 3 Keys For A Cover Letter That Will Stand Out!