Are you ready to leap forward in your career? Are you looking for a promotion in your career but need help figuring out how to get there? Here are a few ways to ask your boss for a promotion: you're ready to take on a bigger role, hopefully, one that’s accompanied by a tidy raise!
10 ways to show you're ready for a promotion
1. pick your employer wisely
If climbing the corporate ladder is important to you, ensure your employer shares those values. Employers with tall hierarchical structures have lots of opportunities for you to move up a rung by gaining a promotion in the future. If your employer has very few managerial layers in their organization, you risk being unhappy when there's nowhere else to go in your career development.
Also, seek out employers with a strong employer brand (i.e., companies whose employees rave about how great they are to work for), as they tend to be more likely to hire from within and provide guidance for career growth, which is important to most workers.
If your employer isn’t the right match for you, it’s best to move on early rather than find your career hit a wall down the line.
2. do the work preemptively
If you want to take on more additional responsibilities and are in a position to do so — go for it! Taking on projects of your own volition shows initiative, increased responsibility, and dedication to your company’s success.
If your job promotion is little more than a formality (i.e. you’re already handling the new responsibilities, just without the official title), you become a shoo-in when it comes time to make a formal hire in a leadership role. Just make sure that the job promotion you’re angling for actually exists.
If your manager has no intention of ever hiring someone in the long term for the type of role you want, you may just be adding onto your current responsibilities with no job title change or pay raise to show for it.
3. have your numbers handy
Like it or not, most companies value performance metrics. They’re often conflated with how good you are at your job. Use your metrics to your advantage and position yourself as a rising star who any manager at your company would be proud to have on their team.
If you can whip out numbers that prove your current impact, you’ll seem like the type of employee who’s worth investing in, the kind of employee who’s ready to handle additional responsibilities. It’s also a known fact that hiring managers (even internal ones) love quantifiable data. If you can show that you’re making a difference in your current role, your employer will want to keep that success going for your next move, perhaps even a leadership role.
4. know where you want to go
A concrete goal or plan is the first step for a promotion in the future. After all, how are you supposed to get somewhere if you’re unsure where you’re going?
Simply knowing you want to be promoted isn’t enough. What kind of promotion at work do you want? Does it involve managing others? Or is adding ‘senior’ to your title enough? What kind of pay raise are you looking for? Do you plan to stay in the same field or make a lateral move into another department?
Knowing all these things ahead of time will help you form a plan to get the job promotion that’s right for you.
5. continue learning
One valuable way to advance in your career is to invest in self-improvement by gaining new leadership skills and certifications that are highly pertinent to your field.
This continuing learning will help to enrich your knowledge and expertise. It will also serve as a tangible testament to your unwavering dedication to ongoing professional growth and development.
By continuing to learn you will be able to enhance your skill set and gain relevant certifications. It will show that you’re a proactive and ambitious professional, ready to take on new challenges and excel in your current company.
6. network and make new connections
The best way to advance in your career is to network. Yes, we know. It’s not so much fun. While ‘more networking’ isn’t always the most popular advice, good advice is repeated frequently for a reason.
Managers trust their work networks and connections more than they do outside job applications. So connect with higher-ups at your company. You never know who could be a potential boss one day!
If they know you from work functions, they’re more likely to hire you than a stranger when the time comes to fill a new role you have your eye on. So don’t skip all those potlucks and other work events where you can mingle with coworkers, it can help your career development more than you know.
7. communicate your goals
Make sure you’ve had a frank conversation with your boss about what you want out of your career development while you’re with your current employer. They can only help you if they know what you want.
These days, it’s rare for employees to stick with a single job for over a handful of years. Yet it’s in employers’ best interests to keep employees around — retaining great employees significantly reduces overhead costs like recruiting and training.
If your employer is smart, they’ll do everything in their power to help you achieve your goals to ensure you stick with the company, even if it’s in a new role.
8. be authentic
No one likes a suck-up who’s clearly only being friendly because they want something, such as a promotion in their career.
Avoid shady tactics like being overly complimentary to your boss or anyone who can help you step up your career — it’s much more transparent than you think. It’s one thing to be friendly and genuinely helpful. It’s another thing to do to get something in return.
Be authentic, and let your hard work and leadership skills speak the loudest.
9. ask for what you want
Often, the person who shows the most initiative gets the promotion. Asking your boss for a job promotion shows passion and ambition, which most leaders admire.
By asking for a promotion, you put yourself in the hiring manager’s mind as a contender. Yet, many people are afraid to voice what they want from their careers.
Cast aside your fear of rejection and just ask. The worst that can happen is they say no. You’ll be no worse off.
10. find external opportunities
If a promotion isn't going to happen in your current job, there are several external pathways to explore for career advancement. Keep an eye on job openings in your field, and attend industry events to network.
Remember to actively engage in professional networking, especially on platforms like LinkedIn. Ensure your resume and online profiles are up-to-date, consider additional education or training if needed, and apply strategically when you find suitable positions.
Seeking guidance from a recruitment agency such as Randstad Canada or a mentor can also be valuable in discovering new opportunities beyond your current role.