Asking for a promotion at work can be an intimidating experience, especially if you don’t know what to say. You know you work hard, have accomplished a lot, and are ready to move your career forward. Even though you know you deserve it, asking for a promotion still induces high levels of anxiety for many professionals. 

Regardless, you know you don’t want to be stuck in the same position for your entire career. To reach your career goals, there’s no way around it: you have to ask for a promotion. 

If you’re ready to ask your boss for a promotion but don’t know where to begin, here’s what to do:

1. Do Your Research

Before you sit down with your boss, you need to do some research in order to prove that you deserve a promotion. 

Start by making a list of all your professional accomplishments. How have you helped the company achieve its goals? How have you shown that you’re an invaluable member of the team? It will be important for you to be able to clearly express how your contributions have positively impacted your organization. 

Next, take into account your experience in your profession and tenure at your company. Is asking for a promotion realistic? If you’ve only been on the job a short time, the reality is you are probably not top of mind for a promotion. On the other hand, if you are a seasoned professional with extensive knowledge and experience, you’ll have a better shot at landing a promotion. 

2. Know When to Ask

Even though you may deserve a promotion, there are better times than others to ask. If company profits are down and people are getting laid off, it is probably not the best time to go for a promotion. But if the company is growing and there are open positions above you, it could be a great time to ask for a promotion.

If things are going well at your company, one of the best times to ask for a promotion or raise is during your annual review. Managers are typically prepared for some of their employees to ask for a promotion during these reviews. But you don’t always have to wait for your annual review. If a position opens up that you feel would be a good fit, set up a meeting with your boss to ask for the position before they look elsewhere.

3. Prepare What You Will Say

Just like you might prepare for a big interview, you need to practice what you will say to your boss when you ask for a promotion. Review the list of accomplishments you made in step one. Be ready to list them from memory when you sit down with your boss. If you have data to measure your accomplishments, that’s a huge plus. For example, rather than simply saying you helped save the company money, you could say something like “I helped save the company $10,000 annually by streamlining processes and implementing these specific procedures.” 

Ultimately, you need to prove to your boss that you are an invaluable member of the team. The best way to demonstrate this is by reminding them of all the ways you’ve helped your team and the company achieve and exceed their goals.

What to Do If You Don’t Get a Promotion

Even if you are the best employee they have, there is no guarantee that you will get a promotion. Despite your accomplishments and experience, there could be many factors that prevent you from getting the promotion you deserve. 

If you get the bad news that you didn’t receive the promotion you want, what should you do? You can either stay in your current position and hope that you’ll finally move up in the future, or you can take action and start looking for a new position elsewhere. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, but you’re getting nowhere at your current organization, we may be able to help. At Burchard & Associates, we connect accounting and finance professionals with career opportunities in St. Louis and beyond. Check out our available opportunities or contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your job search.