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How to Ask for a Promotion: 6 Tips for Success

Has your job title been the same for a long time? Are you regularly taking on additional work on top of your day-to-day tasks? Are you ready for a new challenge? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these question, it’s time to ask for a promotion.

Landing a promotion takes hard work and preparation. You need to be clear on your current performance, where you need to be, and the steps to get you there. While career advancement looks different from company to company, here are six pieces of advice on how to set yourself up for a promotion, no matter your role.

Be a positive presence in the office.

What do managers look for when they consider an employee for a promotion? Reliability and integrity. Employers want to know that you’re committed to the job, their company, and getting the work done. Show them you’re dedicated to growing with them in your career by setting professional goals that align with their business goals and vision. Let them know that you want to contribute to the business’ success by taking on new responsibilities or projects. Consistently give 100% in the workplace—your positivity and dedication will make you shine above the rest.

Lead your professional development journey.

While your boss can be a great resource for advice and feedback on your professional development track, make sure you’re the one truly driving your career growth. Employers are always on the hunt for ambitious people who are continuously working to advance their knowledge, learn about their industry, and sharpen their skills. Keep your manager up-to-date on your progress by asking for on-the-job training opportunities, requesting a budget for topical conferences, and sharing new insights you’ve gained from local meetups.

Ask questions.

To move into a new role, you need to clearly understand the expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can get promoted! What specific mindsets, behaviors, and skills do you need to be effective in the new position? Have an open and honest conversation about what your boss needs from you to be successful long-term. Ask them for feedback on where they see gaps or where you may need additional training. Show you’re engaged by asking clarifying questions and taking notes. Take their constructive feedback to heart and apply it to the work you’re doing now.

Document accomplishments.

Whether you’ve led a project to completion, tried something new, or completed training on a new subject, it’s important to keep track of tangible examples of what you’ve achieved. Your list of accomplishments will paint a picture for your boss of how you’re supporting the company and progressing in your role. Connect the dots for your manager by showing how the work you’ve done exemplifies the traits they’re looking for in their employees. How have you applied their feedback? What work have you done to support your peers? How has your work supported management? Proactively providing your boss with specific examples helps them see how you’re consistently making a positive impact inside the company.

Schedule a formal conversation to talk about promotion opportunities.

By setting up a formal conversation, you’re letting your manager know that you’re serious about exploring new opportunities or taking on a new role. Give them advanced notice on what you want to discuss and enter the conversation with an open mind. Stay away from setting unrealistic expectations on the outcome of the meeting. And, make sure you’re prepared—write down specific examples of how you’ve applied their feedback, how you contribute to the workplace, and what you’ve achieved.

Talk about compensation later.

It’s important to separate your career growth goals from your compensation goals. While salary is an important aspect of your job, show your boss you’re driven by your professional growth and schedule that conversation to negotiate for another time. Before you meet, do some competitive research on job titles, responsibilities, and salaries of similar roles in your region. For example, if you want to be an account manager, look at companies of similar sizes in similar industries: What skills are expected in that role? How many years of experience are needed? What’s the salary range? Understanding the current hiring landscape is a great way to do a pulse check on your own skills, professional development path, and salary expectations.

Not sure what the next step in your career is? Maybe it’s time to switch industries. Explore our nine expert tips on making the leap into a new industry in the middle of your career.