Asking for a Promotion: How to Secure the Role You Deserve

6 min

Asking for a promotion can be a daunting prospect, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your career. If you want to avoid your career stagnating, promotions are key, but they won’t just be handed to you – you must first prove yourself, add significant value, be able to quantify this and then know when to ask for a promotion if you haven’t been awarded one already.

In order to have a meaningful conversation with your employer about the prospect of a promotion, being well equipped to prove how your skills and experience are benefiting your company, and how to deal with any questions or queries that come your way is essential for securing that well-deserved promotion.  

Starting the process of asking for a promotion is a purposeful way to reflect on your current skill set, how this has positively impacted your role and what improvements you could make. In order to achieve the best outcome from asking for a promotion, consider the following:


Why do you want the promotion, and what are you wanting to achieve?

Understanding what the next step in your career is, and what extra responsibilities this would entail is key to a successful conversation about your career progression. Whether that is the jump from manager to director level or taking on more direct reports. When you have defined what the scope is, you will need to consider if your current skill set and achievements fulfil the requirements for your desired position, otherwise your conversation could be disappointingly short.

It is worth speaking with senior management around 6 months before you feel you will be ready for a promotion in order to define if you are on the right track and what steps you might need to take.

When you feel you will be right for a promotion, then you will need to research the type of compensation package that’s suitable for the level of responsibility, level of experience and achievements, based on competitive salary benchmarking.

Make sure that you do your research but do not start the conversation regarding the financials, until you understand the salary range that the role achieves within the marketplace and know your value.


Have you built a strong case with measurable achievements?

Once you have determined why you want to be promoted and the compensation package you’re aiming for, you need to build a strong case as to why you’re the right person for the role.

Employers don’t generally promote colleagues based on their potential; they promote based on results spearheaded by people who have already demonstrated that they can successfully carry out the role. The main skill required for senior managers is the ability to deliver strategies – this requires a change in mindset from executive or management level. It requires the ability to lead and inspire your colleagues and be a key driver in implementing strategies to deliver results.

Defining what projects you have led, and what impact this has already had on your business whether that is a high return on investment, new client wins or an increased employee retention rate, it is key to identify this before scheduling the meeting with your employer. The projects/achievements that you bring up should be documented with factual data that can be proven and shown that it has helped your company achieve its goals.


Do you have recommendations from your colleagues?

Aside from leveraging your promotion with all the measurable achievements you’ve accomplished in order to help the company, it is much more compelling to support this factual data with endorsements from colleagues that are influential in the business. Having a strong personal brand that shows you have the support of your colleagues not only demonstrates that you have made an impact within your organisation, but that you’re a great communicator who’s earned the trust of those colleagues. Skills can be taught, culture can’t.


How does the promotion fit into your own personal goals?

As well as providing the statistics and endorsements to prove why you should be given the promotion, you should also show how it aligns with your own personal goals. It is important to demonstrate that being given more responsibilities within the organisation to push projects forward and become a great leader fits into your own goals. Your passion and commitment to the role needs to be apparent and will be key in securing the career progression that you are striving for.


Set yourself realistic expectations

Remember, you won’t be successful in achieving a promotion just purely because you want it, you must prove that you have earned it. It is important to set yourself realistic expectations – you should be fully prepared that your employer may not offer you the promotion. If this does occur, you should ask for a clear reason why and ask to set up a development plan so both yourself and your employer know what you need to do in the future in order to secure the promotion.

Asking for a promotion shouldn’t be a daunting task if you have put forward a compelling case with tangible results that you have already achieved, along with backing from influential colleagues within your business.

However, if you feel you have already taken the necessary steps to be promoted, and yet your employer does not offer you a promotion or any guidance on how to be promoted then it might be time to start thinking about progressing your career in a business that supports future growth. 


We are experts in placing exceptional senior-level talent across a range of industries, so if you’re a candidate who is looking for their next career move, or would benefit from some career advice – please don’t hesitate to contact me: / +44 (0) 113 416 6462