Start the new year right: How to ask for a promotion [script]. - Word Right Career

Start the new year right: How to ask for a promotion [script].

January is always a good time to start something new and no better time to re-energize your career inside your own company.

Are you a solid performer but think that you have been overlooked for promotions or special projects? Do you ever feel invisible to your senior leaders?

Don’t let what happened to Bianca happen to you.

Bianca was a high-performing protection engineer for a US public utility. With five years under her belt, she was a quiet and unassuming professional.

Unfortunately, Bianca and her manager did not enjoy a good rapport. Her manager was promoted to an international division, and Bianca assumed the manager’s duties for eight months—with solid results. When the replacement manager was hired, Bianca promptly tendered her resignation.

In her exit interview, Bianca reported that no one in the company had approached her to apply for the role. While she admitted she regretted not expressing interest in the role, she believed that senior management should have tapped her for the role. Essentially, she felt she did not belong.

During a debrief with senior management, they reported that she had been earmarked for their high-potential “track”. This simple lapse in communication led to a major loss for the organization and for Bianca and her family.

There are good lessons here. This is a true story and one which happens far too often. If you are in an acting role or you believe you are ready for a promotion, it’s important that you tell your manager.

Here is an easy script that you can follow to ask your manager for a promotion, and it is much easier than you think.

This conversation must happen face to face and not by text or email. Choose a quiet time off-site when there are no distractions. This is very important. Otherwise, you risk being interrupted and then the flow of the conversation is broken. You may lose your confidence.

“Alon, I’m thinking about my career. I’d like to float the idea of my moving into a more responsible role. I believe I’m ready because:”

                Reason 1 - "I saved $100K this year."

                Reason 2 – “I led the Cupertino expansion project under time and under budget.”

                Reason 3 – “I won the San Diego Smart Energy project that brought in $10M to the company”

  • “Alon is this something you would consider? Can we discuss next month/quarter? Can I get your feedback on whether I look ready to you?”

Then stop talking. And wait for Alon to respond.

If Alon doesn’t think you’re ready, that’s okay. You get to ask:

  • "Alon what do you think I need to do to get ready? What do you think is missing?” Do not be  defensive…simply ask: “What is your recommendation for the action I need to take?”

The company is looking 
for a solution,
not a specific person

  • Remember, it’s not about you. Take the pressure off yourself and remember that when a job opportunity comes up, the company is looking for a solution, not a specific person.
  • Focus on the challenge not yourself.
  • Use the job description [and your résumé] to answer important questions and to guide your career conversations. The job description (or pitch or business case) becomes an objective platform for you to articulate how you can solve their problems
  • If you know what keeps your senior leadership up at night, that is a great place to start your pitch.

If you ask for a promotion with emotionally neutral language and a solid proposition, you will position yourself for success. Also, remember that if you ask for a promotion and your boss doesn’t think you’re ready, that’s okay. You now have a plan.

If the idea of asking for a promotion  makes you feel uneasy, see the ever popular TED talk by Amy Cuddy (20 minutes). For more insight into growing your career internally, see this blog entry.

“Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” - Thomas Edison

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