6 tips for asking for a promotion

Anyone who's ever asked for a promotion knows that it can be a difficult conversation. But if you think you're ready for a new title on your business cards, it's better not to wait around for someone else to make the suggestion. It's important to be direct and honest with your manager or boss – the worst they can say is no. If you're preparing to ask for a promotion, take a look at these six tips that may help you have an effective conversation:

1. Work up to it
The best way to ask for a promotion is not to just come right out and ask when the opportunity pops up. If you think you've reached the point where you're ready for a higher role, consider first asking to take on more responsibilities or high-maintenance projects. Or, simply go above and beyond what you've been asked to do. That way, you'll have some major successes under your belt when it comes time to have the conversation.

2. Find the best time
The best time to ask for a promotion will depend on your company's needs and your relationship with your boss. That being said, if you have a one-on-one or review meeting coming up, that's a great place to bring it to his or her attention. Your boss will already be ready to talk about your performance and your future with the company, so you'll have an easy way to start the conversation. If you don't, ask your boss when he or she has free time to sit down with you. That way, you can be sure you get an uninterrupted block of time to make your case.

3. Come prepared
Before asking for a promotion, make sure you come knowing what you're going to ask for. It's not enough to just say, "I think I'm ready to move up." Have a title and salary in mind. If you're asking because someone else is leaving the company and you want to fill their role, it's a good idea to chat with them about the position and salary. That way you'll have a good idea of what to expect. 

4. Be realistic
Asking for a promotion should never be solely because you want a raise or you're unhappy where you are. You need to make sure the position you're asking for is the right one for you and your company. You'll gain nothing by asking for a position that's unrealistically high up in the company or not in line with your future career goals.

5. Use examples
When it comes time to ask for a promotion, make sure you have specific examples of your successes and why you feel like you're a good fit for the higher position. If you've managed a particularly difficult client effectively or you've met all of your sales goals within the past six months, bring it up. 

6. Be gracious
If you don't get the promotion you requested, it's OK to follow up and ask for the reasons. But avoid acting confrontational or hurt – it's unprofessional and could make them less likely to promote you in the future.