Don’t Sleep: 7 Steps to Getting a Promotion

May 23, 2012  |  
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Things aren’t as they used to be in the work world. You aren’t instantly given a promotion simply because you stuck around for a certain number of years. Often, companies go ahead and hire someone from the outside, who is already prepared for the position ahead of yours. Or, they just aren’t paying attention and don’t realize how advancing anyone could benefit them. So you have to show them. 

Show your worth

You may have worked hard, you may have been loyal to the company, but all that isn’t going to earn you a fatter paycheck. Prepare documents that show how your work and your personal ideas yielded results for the company (i.e. made them more money.) This is especially important to do if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t have the direct authority to give you the promotion, because those numbers will help them make a case for you when they talk to the person who can give you a promotion.

Request more work

If you can avoid the word “promotion”—do. Instead, just tell your boss you feel ready to take on new challenges and more responsibility. This will show him you’re not just looking for a title or higher pay. It also opens up the option for your boss to slowly integrate you into other projects and see how you do, rather than just promoting you on the spot.

Make up the job you want

Doing this is great on multiple levels: you’re not competing with anyone (because there’s nothing to compete for yet) and it shows that you care about the company and you’ve thought so much about it that you invented a unique position that will help the company. Whether or not the position can be created for and given to you, you’ve shown you are looking to move upward.

Ask in a casual place

Everybody is stressed at work and if someone approaches them asking, “Can I talk to you about something?” they just think, “Great, one more thing on my plate today.” Bring up the promotion to your boss in a casual setting where he or she is relaxed, like over lunch, coffee or drinks. They’ll be far more receptive. If you have to do it at work, set a meeting with your boss so that time is set aside when his ears are all yours.

Don’t try to be the authority

Do not tell your boss you’ve received better offers from other companies, or that you will leave your current one if you don’t get promoted. All this will do is probably get you fired from your current job and/or ruin your reputation at both the current company and the others you were offered jobs at (if they even exist).

Run in higher circles

Long before asking for your promotion, become friends with someone who is at the level you want to be and preferably in the exact position. This demonstrates to your boss you take that position seriously because you were studying it in advance, plus that person might be able to speak highly of you to the boss in the form of a “reference.”

Get certified

Whether it’s a literal certification or a figurative one, become qualified for the position. Before asking for your promotion, take some initiative and teach yourself computer programs you might need to know for that position, or get certifications the job might require. You want to show your boss you are ripe for the job.

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