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6 Steps on How to Negotiate Your Promotion at Work

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

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 at work typically come with either more duties and better monetary compensation or benefits.

You can also advance up the corporate ladder and improve your standing in the professional hierarchy, enjoy a high salary, feel more fulfillment of the higher position, or manage teams.

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 (or loyalty) in the company, extraordinary talent, fine management and leadership skills, and additional responsibilities.

Here is your guide to get promoted if it is among your career goals:

1- Evaluate the circumstances

You decided to ask promotion because it is in your career development plan, but it is not totally up to you!

Your boss or immediate supervisor determines whether you should be promoted.

Usually, they are aware of their employees' 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.

You should keep in mind that their perception might not be favorable if you suddenly ask them for a promotion and you will 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!

So the first step is to evaluate all the circumstances before you ask the promotion.

Timing is very important. Don't ruin your chances before even meeting your boss!

Once you think you are ready for a promotion, and it is a perfect time to be recognized already, do not allow fear to stand in your way.

Keep following the steps below;

2- Research the new role

Before asking for a promotion, always find out what new knowledge and skills the new role will require from you.

Is there any certifications or training you need to complete?

What about a formal education such as masters degree is a prerequisite for the new job you want?

Researching the new position will help increase your suitability for the promotion. You may visit your employer's website and look at the job description for the position.

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 your resume 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 write 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.

Actually, you should be keeping a journal or a Google document to jot down your accomplishments each time you achieve them.

It will be much easier to look and remember when it is time to bring them to the table for the performance review, promotion meeting or even job interview.

Your performance record over the entire work period.

Keep a copy of your performance reviews each time you meet with your boss.

Your excellent performance, praises of your boss and appreciations you get in the email or slack on how important your work is your company now will pay off as a promotion.

Your skills appropriate for the new role.

List your skills, certifications and formal or informal education and training that are required or preferred for the new role.

You should not be shy for the excellent attributes you have and show your enthusiasm how you would make a difference for the organization if you are promoted.

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

You are aware the new challenges that the new position will bring.

If it is a managerial position, dealing with people, resolving conflict, growing your team in addition to staying after hours or work on Saturdays.

Be ready to be tested by your boss!

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

This might be the most important part that your boss will be interested.

Get ready!

You have been in this company for years and you are aware of the problems. You have always excellent ideas or solutions to resolve issues.

Just show your boss that you are capable of improving the services or products that will ultimately help grow the bottom line.

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

If you are still in process completing your degree or the training that you must have for the promotion, just mention it.

Tell your boss about your progress, what you have accomplished so far, and the timeline of your completion.

When formulating interview topics, ensure that they do not just reflect what you want from the new job.

Instead, your topics 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 which is 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 your boss.

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.

What if your boss says a big NO?

Still, 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!

5 books we recommend to help you prepare to your next promotion



Disclaimer: The links mentioned above are affiliate links, and I may earn a commission from them at no cost to you when you purchase from them. Regardless, I only recommend products I believe will tremendously help my readers.

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