Get A Promotion

When Is It Appropriate To Ask For A Promotion

Written By: Matt Casadona
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated November 2, 2023

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a millennial who got a job in consumer services

If you’ve been spending more hours at the office and doing a great job, you might ask yourself when it’s appropriate to ask for a promotion. Most people have career plans, and staying as a low-level employee isn’t on it. However, asking for a promotion can be stressful for most people, even if they fully believe they deserve it. 

The worst thing that can happen is your boss denies your request, which means spending a few more years at your current level. However, that could make for an awkward situation. 

Additionally, being turned down for a promotion might make you feel like a company doesn’t see your full value. The key to getting a promotion is finding the right time to ask. This article will discuss when it’s appropriate to ask for a promotion and when it isn’t. 

When to Ask for a Promotion

a woman wondering if it's time to ask for a promotion

You can technically ask for a promotion whenever you want, but it’s always best to ask when you truly feel you deserve it and think you can convince your higher-ups to get on board. Here are a few situations that suggest it’s time to ask for a promotion. 

You Want to Grow

If you’ve been in the same position for a few years, you might feel like you’re stuck in a rut with nothing left to learn. The only way to learn more and grow within a company is to ask for a promotion. Since you’re already familiar with operations and understand the tasks the job title above you requires, you’re an ideal candidate for the job. 

Most employers prefer to promote within the company because it requires less time and money than hiring someone new while reducing employee turnover. In addition, since you have already been working under someone with the same job title you want, it’ll be much easier to train you. However, to get a promotion, there would need to be an open position within the company. For example, if your boss gets promoted, you could ask to get promoted with them so you two can raise the ranks together. 

Of course, you can always talk to your boss about getting a promotion by creating a new job. For example, if you’ve noticed your boss has difficulty finishing all of their tasks, you can ask them to make a new job for you that will help you better support them. While you might still be doing some of your same old tasks, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more valuable skills and earn more money. 

Your Role Has Increased Responsibility 

If you have excelled in your position enough for management to give you more responsibility, you may have already been promoted without the salary increase. Take a look at the job description you agreed on and compare it to your actual daily duties. It’s normal for a job to evolve over time, but if you have taken on new responsibilities without getting paid more, your employer might be taking advantage of you whether or not they realize it. 

If you’ve noticed an increase in responsibilities and leadership duties, it’s time to check in with your boss and ask for a raise since your duties have evolved to more management tasks. 

Your Work Improves the Business

If the work you do continues to have visible impacts on the business that you can measure, you probably deserve a promotion. For example, if you work in digital marketing and your reporting and analytics showcase how much improvement you’ve had on the company’s marketing efforts, you have a good case for a promotion. When you talk to your boss, bring stats into the negotiations. Business leaders respond well to your ability to back up claims with evidence. If the company grows because of your work, it’s time to let management know. 

You’ve Developed Your Skills

Most people want to grow in their careers, so they’ll develop skills outside of work to help improve their chances of getting promoted or finding a better job. For example, marketing assistants might choose to take night classes or get certified to develop their skills to progress in their careers. If you’ve started developing more skills and those skills have helped your managers and the company as a whole, it’s time to ask for a promotion. The more skills you have, the higher your income should be. 

When Not to Ask for a Promotion

While you can ask for a promotion whenever you feel one is justified, there are times you shouldn’t ask for a promotion because you’ll likely be turned down. 

Not Enough Experience

If you’ve only been in your position for a few months, you probably don’t have enough experience or time within the business to get promoted to a leadership role. 

You Don’t Intend to Stay

While earning more money at all would be nice, you may not want to ask for a promotion if you plan on leaving the company. Whether you’re looking into other opportunities or the company you work for is toxic, it’s not worth getting promoted if you plan to leave in just a few months. 

You’re Asking for Too Much

If the salary you’re asking for is way above market value and you already know the company can’t afford to promote you, it’s not a good time to ask for a promotion. If you’re working in a small business, you likely understand whether they’re in good financial standing or not. While you can still ask for an increase in pay, it might not be worth the awkward conversation with your boss if you’re asking for too much. 

Final Thoughts

Asking for a promotion can be stressful, but if you’re someone who excels in their position and helps the company grow, it should be easy for your bosses to consider your request. However, sometimes you won’t want to ask for a promotion, and sometimes it’s better to leave a company. Of course, you should always be paid what you’re worth. If you can find a better opportunity elsewhere, you can still allow your employer to meet or exceed an offer from another employer, but be prepared to leave if your work isn’t valued.

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