How Dare You Ask for a Promotion...

How dare you ask for a promotion.

Said no one … ever. 

Well, there are exceptions. 

However, one thing is for sure,  if you don’t ask for (insert promotion, raise, job) then you are leaving the faith of your career in someone else's hands.

And if you ask and it doesn’t go as planned., isn’t it better to know where you stand so you can make a choice for what is next in your career?

Let’s take a step back and examine why it isn’t easy to make an ask. Our entire life our hard work has been automatically rewarded. 

Think about it.

  • You go to school and do your work, you get ‘promoted’ to the next grade level.

  • You’re a great soccer player who practices all the time, you receive a trophy for MVP.

  • You’re an incredible violinist, you are invited to participate in NYSSMA.

  • You study hard and get straight A’s, you’re placed on the Dean’s List.

  • You’re a top-notch football player, you get recruited for college.

For 18 years, we have ingrained these expectations and experiences into the hard wiring of our brains. We believe in the basic equation that says, Hard Work + Dedication = Recognition and Advancement.  

Then BAM! Our world is turned upside down when we move into the corporate world.  We follow the same equation and quickly realize the rules of the game have changed.  If you don’t notice this quickly enough, you find yourself sitting in the same job waiting and waiting for what is supposed to happen next. 

If I had a penny for every time a client said to me, “I’ve been at my company for three years and have been instrumental in the success of my department, I shouldn’t have to ask for that promotion.” 

We head into the workforce ill-equipped to navigate our growth opportunities.  Promotions aren’t handed out like awards or certificates based on our length of service or the amount of work we are doing. 

Instead, we have to learn how to record our own accomplishments, craft documentation of our successes and then be able to confidently articulate it all to our superiors.  

Here are key steps to preparing for your next promotion:

  1. Outline your accomplishments.  Keep a running tally of what you are doing. Include projects you’ve led and any revenue tied to your position.

  2. Manage up. Yes, we are part of a team and want to be a team player, sharing the successes of those around you or who work for you. This is not mutually exclusive from sharing your own successes as well. 

  3. Practice. Before asking for the meeting, practice your points. Much like interviewing, you want to feel comfortable with what you are bringing to the table.

  4. Be succinct.  The more you ramble the more it feels like fluff.  Short, succinct. Specific.

Look there’s no guarantee that you will receive the promotion. Even if you are hard-working, successful, dedicated and make the ask. There are so many more factors that determine growth, including budgets, needs gap and structure. What I can tell you is if you don’t ask, you will never know.

If you need help in your career, connect with us for a free discovery call.  



Marissa Bishop