How to Negotiate and Land Your Dream Promotion

By Cara Moore

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Discussing promotions and raises can be a daunting task even for the most confident of employees. However, feeling too embarrassed or nervous to discuss a potential promotion can cost you more than just financially. If you feel your skills have developed beyond your current job title, this can lead to feelings of bitterness as well as real-life consequences in future job hunts, by having a title that downplays your actual role and performance.

So we have some tips and tricks for you today to consider when planning and negotiating asking your boss for your dream promotion.


Timing really is everything

When asking for a promotion, the key is knowing when to ask. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be putting yourself forward if you started at the company two months ago, or if you’ve just been put on a Performance Improvement Plan.

Be reasonable. Unless you are a superhero star performer who does the work of 15 employees, it simply isn’t appropriate to ask for a promotion just a few weeks into a new job. Bide your time, put in great work and you’ll know when the right time is to ask for a step up.

A good time to ask is after a big deal or major success for your team. You need to explain your role and how you personally contributed to the group’s success. Equally, if you’ve just had a personal success, such as a great sale, you should definitely highlight this!

If you know this promotion is a highly contested one, don’t leave it too late: you may be overlooked if you aren’t as proactive and step up to the plate as quickly as your co-workers or external competitors are.

Some studies show that you are more likely to get a promotion if you ask at certain times of day and week. Based on your boss’s personality and schedule, you may be able to assess this best yourself. Don’t ask right before lunch. Most experts agree that mid-morning on an early week day (Tuesday or Wednesday) is your best bet, and when your boss will be in the most open mindset to consider your promotion request.


Know your worth

If you truly believe you are worthy of a promotion, you probably are!

Even if you are nervous, try and focus on how much you stand to gain rather than lose. After all, the worst you can get is a no. Having confidence in yourself is invaluable, when you are selling yourself for a higher and more prestigious job position than you previously held. You don’t need to be embarrassed. After all, those who don’t ask, don’t get!

What specifically can you bring to the role that no one else can? You need to make a strong case for yourself and be your biggest cheerleader. Emphasize your loyalty and established commitment to the company, and your aspirations to grow within it, to your benefit. This is especially important if your boss is also considering recruiting externally for this position.

Don’t forget, asking for a promotion or raise simply based on length of time employed is not good enough. Your pitch for a promotion should be based on your merits rather than just the length of time you have worked at a company. Show examples of when you have gone above and beyond the requirements of your current role.


Be prepared and keep a level head

Do your research. Find out what positions exist laterally in your company. Research what people in this position get paid, both in your company and elsewhere, and be prepared with these figures.

Identify the role you want, find out what the requirements are and give relevant examples of why you’re right for this specific job.

When you consider seeking a promotion, start compiling a list that details your accomplishments and achievements for the company over the past year similar to a CV format. Wherever possible include figures and data to back these achievements up. This could be anything from figures on a sale you completed and how much you earned for the company, to new skills you have gained and how you would use them in your new role.

You must prepare your presentation and ideally go over it with someone else several times. You have to be confident and secure in knowing what you’re asking for, and pre-empt any challenges that might come up and have responses to these.

Remember, you should wait until you are actually offered the promotion before you discuss a raise. One thing at a time!


Use focused and strong language

Here are some examples of things you might want to say and do when negotiating for a promotion:

“I see our company is restructuring in some areas, creating two new divisions out of the old Sales & Marketing unit. I’d like to talk to you about how I think I can help with making this transition as smooth as possible while exploring a new leadership role.”

“I have a unique skill set that I think would be perfect for the role of Sales Manager. In my role as Sales Assistant, I learned how to work under pressure, deal with a range of customer needs and collaborate with a growing team. I think these skills would transfer well to becoming a successful Sales Manager”

“Since becoming the manager of the local office, I have saved the company £1500 annually and cut processing times by 50% by creating a streamlined business procedure. In view of this success, I’d like to ask to be considered for the role of Director of Operations”.

Use assertive language and specific data to prove your capability for the new role they are considering you for.


Be persistent and follow up

Make sure you follow up, especially if no firm decision was reached at the end of your meeting. Some managers will say they will consider a promotion and then forget all about it, or worse, rely on you not being confident enough to ask again.

Mention next steps and a clear plan of action. Make sure your boss knows you are committed to this and willing to stick it out to the end.

Another thing to bear in mind that if you haven’t gained your desired pay increase from this promotion yet, it doesn’t mean the negotiation is necessarily over. You could request an interim performance appraisal to revisit your compensation for this new role you have taken on, making sure to emphasize how well you’ve adapted to the role.


Know when to walk away

When all is said and done, if your current employer won’t budge on promotion and raise opportunities and there is no scope for your career to progress at the rate you’d like it to, it might be time to look for better opportunities further afield.

If you feel you are overqualified for this current role, then what is to stop you job hunting for positions one or two rungs above what you’re currently doing? You can do it!

Armed with these tips and strategies, you’ll be stood in good stead for negotiating and landing your dream promotion. Good luck in your pursuit of greatness!


About the author: Cara Moore writes the Jobboard Finder blog. Jobboard Finder is the world’s first job site search and comparison tool. It is the first decision-making tool for job searches and recruiters alike. Recruiters can purchase job advertisements for the media they have selected and manage their postings directly from our unique platform. Then they can rate and review the job boards they have used in the past for our community of professionals to see.

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