When To Ask for a Promotion (and How to Do It Effectively)

By Indeed Editorial Team

May 13, 2021

For many people, a single job is a temporary position on the way to a more ideal career. Regardless of the level of your aspirations, you will likely want a promotion at some point to move up to the next level. Asking for a promotion can be successful, provided the timing and situation are right. In this article, you will learn when the right time might be to ask for a promotion and also helpful tips on how to ask for one successfully.

When to ask for a promotion

While there is no specific guideline for asking for a promotion, there are some situations where asking for a promotion is more reasonable. They include:

  • You're ready to grow.

  • You've taken on increased responsibility.

  • You've made progress on identified development areas.

  • Your work has visibly impacted the business.

You're ready to grow

When you've held your current position for some time, you may decide you want to pursue more growth in the company. You likely possess familiarity with company procedures and understand the main requirements and processes of the job title above you. This gives you an advantage over others. Many employers like to fill positions by promoting from within because it requires less time and resources than hiring someone new. Since you already have the basic knowledge needed and the company knows you and the type of work you produce, you have a higher chance of your manager considering you for an open position at a higher level.

You've taken on increased responsibility

If you have taken on more responsibility than your current role, it could be a good time to ask for a promotion. Take another look at your job description and assess if your current tasks directly reflect it. While a job's duties can change over time, a significant increase, especially in management or leadership duties, could reflect a deserved promotion. Schedule a check-in with your manager to discuss their expectations for your current position and how your new responsibilities could fit into a greater role.

You've made progress on identified development areas

After the first three to six months of a job you usually receive feedback on your performance in the form of an employee review. If you made noteworthy progress, and excel in developmental areas that are prerequisites for the next level, it could be a good time for a promotion discussion. Keep notes on your performance to take to your manager. If it's not the right time for a promotion, discuss the steps you can take to keep improving.

Your work has visibly impacted the business

Your work needs to make an impact on any business, but if the impact has a measurable impact on the company, you may have a good case for a promotion. Consider your accomplishments in the past six months and how your work affected your team and the company as a whole. Assess measurable factors such as sales revenue or influence on marketing results, to show how you provide value for the business. You may need to discuss with your manager how your work can impact the business more before you have results to show.

Tips for asking for a promotion

The following tips can help you prepare to ask for a promotion:

  • Express interest informally.

  • Ask the person leaving questions about the position.

  • Create a formal presentation.

  • Ask for more responsibilities gradually.

  • Make sure you have enough experience.

  • Ask when you're ready.

Related: How To Ask for A Promotion

Express interest informally

Depending on your relationship with your boss, talking to them directly and in-person about a promotion is ideal. Start with a more informal conversation, inquiring about the next level and the possibility of getting there. This allows you the chance to explain why you want the position and ask your boss for more details about the responsibilities. After this discussion, you can then follow-up with a more formal inquiry based on your boss's thoughts and suggestions.

Related: How To Prepare for a Promotion Interview

Ask the person leaving questions about the position

If the position you want is opening because another coworker is leaving, it may benefit you to ask them some questions about the role and its duties. You could ask them what they enjoyed about the position and what types of challenges they endured. This helps you understand the position in more detail, to decide if you truly want to pursue it. Also, depending on how well you know the coworker, they might write you a recommendation letter for the position before departing.

Create a formal presentation

A tasteful PowerPoint presentation briefly summarizing your performance and expertise could make a good impression on your manager. Explain your interest in the position and why you're the best candidate, as well as some highlights from your career so far that relate to your ability to excel in the new position. Keep it short, but provide as much detail as possible. Prepare answers to questions your manager may ask you and do a run-through beforehand to polish your presentation skills.

Ask for more responsibilities gradually

Building up your responsibilities could naturally lead to a promotion. Begin by asking for a few additional duties related to the higher-level position you desire. Perform these new responsibilities carefully with attention to detail. As you excel in each new set of duties, you can inquire about receiving more. If you position yourself right, you can easily show your readiness and ability to take on a greater role. Some ways to add responsibilities include taking the lead on a project, volunteering to get management experience and signing up for overtime. This also allows you to grow and improve upon the skills you'll need in a more advanced position.

Make sure you have enough experience

Before inquiring about a promotion, make sure you have a good amount of the experience required for the increased responsibility. You may want to keep notes about all of the skills you have gained in your current position, as well as additional responsibilities you took on and the accomplishments you made. By assessing your own skills and experience with the ones needed for the next level, you can determine if it's the right time to discuss a promotion with your manager, or if you should spend more time improving key skills.

Ask when you're ready

The right time to ask is when you feel ready. You may choose to wait until your yearly review to show a year's worth of progress and accomplishments, or you may choose to ask at a moment of opportunity when a position opens up or you led a successful team project.

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