What To Say When Asking For A Promotion

So you want a raise

finger-163689_640You’ve done a great job. The boss likes you, the janitors love you and your presentation last week was worthy of a TED talk! So it’s time for a raise. The problem is that, despite all the incredible value you have brought to the company, you aren’t sure what the answer will be. This system will help you get the ball rolling on that raise, without being pushy, or weak. This is completely different than searching for a job over 50, writing a resume with no experience or getting a job online.

Stop worrying about it and formulate a plan

First things first, stop worrying about it! I know you’re nervous and you think about what it would be like to make more money and just how awesome it would be. And if they can’t see the value you bring then they aren’t paying attention. Come to think of it the boss is gone more than you and she makes way more money. And if they even knew about . . .

Stop it.

Calm down. Asking for a raise is not the same as preparing to fight with your loud neighbor. If you have done things right, the management likes you. So respect that relationship and follow these steps when you ask. But calm down. The stress you put on yourself will follow you into the room and put a shadow on the whole process.

You’ll be fine, so don’t worry.

Know the company

Most companies want to be made aware that you know a lot about them. So learning the core values ,mission statement and ideal customers will only help you here. If the company has a founder who is bigger than life, (or even if they just think they are) know about them. Be ready to take the parts of the company that you like and weave it into the best parts about you.

You’ll need this knowledge about the company at the end of your answer. But for now, store away a few stories, the core values and bits of the mission statement that you like. Don’t worry, we’ll return to it soon.

Know yourself

So, what do you know about yourself? Usually this stumps people. They don’t want to say they are a fan of vampire movies because that is completely irrelevant and way out of style. So filling that gap with relevant and current information about you is vital! A good way to begin is with a personality profile like Meyers-Briggs or DiSC. These will give you amazing insights into yourself and a great launching off point to start the conversation. For example, if you take a DiSC profile you can say “I am a high S on the DiSC profile which is why I am very steady and do well with the systems and routines of the company.”

Have a backup plan in place

So what will you do if they say no?

Will you quit, turn back projects or just continue on? Whatever plan you develop for this, make sure you think it through. Don’t quit a job because they didn’t give you a raise, without finding another one first. Make sure that you know what your plan will be regardless of the answer.

Planning your actions for any outcome gives you the confidence to ask because you know exactly what your next step will be when you walk out the door. Confidence is a huge asset to the process and will very likely get you the promotion.

So have confidence that you have a good response for any answer, and the answer will probably be yes!

Timing is everythingtime-371226_640

Never ask for a promotion during a company picnic, family barbecue or game of squash (what is that anyway, a competition for stepping on bugs?) Even if you have to schedule your appointment make sure that your leader has plenty of time to think and not a lot of stress to distract her from considering your offer.

Don’t ask the night before a big client presentation, during a family crisis or a rough time for the company.

Ask when the leader is feeling good about the future, which will include bigger checks for you, and make sure you have a killer resume ready to go when you ask. Resumes aren’t just for finding jobs. They help promote and explain you better than even you can. Do the work to make sure your resume looks nice and is ready before you go ask.

It’s crucial.


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Be relaxed

meerkat-459171_640There are two extremes in a personality in this situation.

  1. Arrogant and demanding
  2. Nervous and unsure.

You don’t want either of these traits coming out, so relax and just talk. Emotions and demands don’t get raises.

Logic does.

So illustrate why you are so valuable. Explain how the big project hinged on you coming through, and that you did. Just be ready to smile and enjoy the moment. This will help you seem well-refined and great to work with.

Pop the question, the right way

Don’t ask for a promotion or a raise. Ask what you can do to play a bigger role in advancing the company. Ask what you need to do to be given more responsibility. Putting the questions this way helps them understand that you have put the companies needs before your own.

It’s a really powerful tool in your arsenal.

So your question might sound like this.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this culture. I am a high S on the DiSC profile which makes me a steady reliable candidate for more responsibility within my department. I know the third core value of the company is ‘clarity in growth’ which describes exactly how I feel about growth. So what do I need to do in order to play a bigger part in the success of the company?”

This question will open the door for an immediate upgrade or the steps you need to take to get that upgrade. Notice there is no option to say “no.” And you have taken away their need to ask the dreaded “Tell us a little about yourself” question.

Framing the question this way helps your leader understand that you are here to stay, you are incredibly valuable and worth putting some more money in to.

So go nail down a promotion at work this week!


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Want a resume and cover letter template that will "help" the hiring manager choose you?

We  put all the psychology of fonts, colors and designs into this matching resume kit, and you can have it for free!


We take your privacy very seriously