6 Steps on How to Negotiate Your Promotion at Work

What is a promotion at work?

A job promotion occurs when an individual, as a result of their outstanding performance, is elevated to a higher rank, position, or role within an organization. Promotions in work typically come with either more duties or better monetary compensation and benefits. You can advance up the corporate ladder and improve your standing in the professional hierarchy. Was this what you were always dreaming of?

Promotion at work will come with its sacrifices. You may need to work more than usual and learn new skills for your new role. In most businesses, promotion criteria often include seniority in the company (or loyalty), extraordinary talent, management skills, and additional responsibilities.

1- Evaluate the circumstances

Your boss or immediate supervisor determines whether you should be promoted. Usually, they are aware of their employee's progress since you sit down with them for your performance review. However, they may not know everything you have done so far for the company. Therefore, you may think their perception might not be favorable if you suddenly ask them for a promotion and you dread having such a conversation with them.

In addition, be aware of your company's situation because wrong timing may ruin your chances of getting your well-deserved promotion. It may not always be the best time to ask for a promotion if there is a hiring freeze because revenues keep dropping three quarters in a row!

Once you think you are ready for a promotion, do not allow fear to stand in your way and follow the steps below;

2- Research the new role

Before asking for a promotion, always find out what skills and requirements the new role will require from you. This will help increase your suitability for promotion. You may visit your employer's website and look at the job description for the position. However, you can use professional online resources to expand your skills beyond those required to stand out from the crowd. Start acquiring those skills that can benefit you and the company. In addition, it's best if you would contact someone who has held the position in question and ask them what is expected of them on a day-to-day basis.

3- Prepare for the meeting

It is of the utmost importance that you prepare for the meeting that you will ask your boss for a promotion. It would help if you wrote down the arguments you will make when you approach your supervisor. Consider the following when you make your points:

  • Your past job accomplishments, including your strengths.

  • Your performance record over the entire work period.

  • Your skills appropriate for the new role.

  • The challenges of the new role and how you would meet them.

  • The value you can contribute to your future position and how you will help the company achieve its goals.

  • Any technical skills you lack, if any, and a plan on how you will acquire them as soon as possible.

When formulating interview topics, ensure they do not just reflect what you want from the job. Instead, they should focus on how the company can benefit from you.

4- Present your request for promotion

After you have made your case convincingly, it's time to let your boss know you are seeking a promotion. Although the annual performance review may be the best time to informally discuss a promotion, you can also raise the matter in a formal email. The latter is a good idea to set up a meeting outside the appraisal period. Be sure to clearly express in your email what you want to talk about, namely your potential promotion. An email is the best way to give your boss enough time to analyze your past performance and prepare an appropriate response.

5- Meet your boss

Be on time on the day of the meeting to make a good impression on the employer. Start the interview by mentioning your years of service to emphasize your loyalty to your employer. Also, address all the points you mentioned earlier and be brief. Do not compare the length of your colleagues' careers or the recent promotion of a younger co-worker with yours. This could give your boss the impression that you want to be promoted only because others are being promoted, not because you have the skills and talent for a higher position.

6- Be confident about yourself

Encourage an honest dialogue with your boss without being aggressive or demanding. Don't be scared to ask for what you deserve because promotion is a method for employers to acknowledge employees' contribution and hard work at a company. Just be confident of your talent and present yourself with past accomplishments and other arguments you have prepared that you can bring to the company. You are ultimately speaking out for yourself and you can do this!


Asking for a promotion can be scary since you are considering stepping out of your comfort zone, especially if you have been in the same position for a long time. It can make you even more nervous if you are not sure the person in charge of hiring knows about your contribution, and what if your boss says a big NO? But even if they do not, it's worth asking.

Now it is your turn. Have you asked for a promotion before, or are you considering meeting with your boss soon to present yourself? Write down below in the comments!


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