Businessman's silhouette with briefcase walking up elevated bars on graph

7 Ways to Prepare to Ask for a Promotion

If you're a hard worker, you're likely ready for the next step in your career. Here are seven ways to show your boss that you're ready for a promotion.

If you’re a hard worker who excels at your job, you’re likely ready for the next step in your career. If you’re due for a promotion but haven’t yet received one, it’s time to take things into your own hands. However, it’s vital to approach asking for a promotion strategically. Having a serious discussion with your boss and stating you’d like a promotion can get awkward, which is why you should handle it with patience and care.

1. Understand the timing

Receiving a yearly promotion is typical, but depending on the industry you’re in, your promotion trajectory may be different. Understanding your industry’s timing for career advancement can help you gauge if it’s time for you to ask for a promotion. However, if your industry doesn’t give yearly promotions, and you feel as you’ve done an outstanding job in your current role and are ready for more, don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion! Asking for a promotion also has a lot to do with timing. It probably wouldn’t be wise to ask for one during a busy season when your boss is stressed out. Keep in mind that every industry is different, so do what’s best for you.

Related: How to Turn an Internship Into a Full-Time Job

2. Gather information to make your case

Before asking for a promotion, you should build a strong case as to why you deserve one. You can’t ask outright for a promotion and expect to get it right away, so gather examples of your work and think of instances where you demonstrated core company values. You should also have examples of how you would manage your added responsibilities in your new role. If you want to go all out on impressing your boss, create a presentation and walk them through it. You should also send them the presentation so they’ll have it on file. That way they’ll have something to reference when they’re thinking over whether it’s time to give you a promotion.

3. Think about the company (not just yourself)

Keep in mind that promotions aren’t only about you or other employees. When a company decides to promote someone, they think about whether it’d be a wise decision for the company as a whole. Similar to when you interview for a job opportunity, it’s essential to communicate why you are an excellent fit for the new role. You should also discuss how your expertise will help the company now and in the future.

4. Begin taking on more responsibilities

If you haven’t already, it’s in your best interest to start taking on more responsibilities to show your boss that you’re capable of expanding your skill set. Just don’t overload yourself with new tasks or it could backfire. Make sure you’re still performing well in your current job. However, if you can handle taking on new responsibilities by effectively executing them, doing this will undoubtedly help your case. It may take a while for a boss to acknowledge your new efforts, so don’t feel like you have to add everything at once. Otherwise you’ll get burned out. Find the right balance of performing well at your current job while taking on some of the newer responsibilities.

Related: How to Climb Up the Corporate Ladder

5. Reflect on your career path

During this time of change, consider how you’d like to advance your career.

Questions to ask yourself before asking for a promotion:

  • How will this promotion impact where I want to be in my career?
  • Will my promotion open up new opportunities?
  • What are my goals? Does asking for a promotion align with my goals?
  • If I ask for a promotion, will I still have enough time to spend with my family? Or will my personal life suffer?
  • Is asking for a promotion worth it?
  • Am I thinking about leaving my company in the near future?

As you can see by the questions, taking the time to define your goals will help you seriously consider whether you’d really like a promotion. If you’re thinking about moving on from the company, chances are asking for a promotion won’t make you happy.

6. Plant a seed

Another thing to keep in mind is that when asking for a promotion, it’s likely going to take a few conversations to put a bug in their ear or get the ball rolling. If you’ve been casually hinting at wanting a promotion to your boss or they’ve mentioned that they’re considering you for a new position, you’re one step closer to securing your new role.

What to do to move the process along:

  • Express interest in a new position early on and go from there.
  • Don’t be afraid to remind your boss once in a while.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for the potential switch.
  • Familiarize yourself with the department (if you’re switching over and meeting new people at work) and know everyone’s name.

7. Be patient (to a point)

Promotions aren’t something that will happen overnight, regardless of whether you approached your boss or they were already planning to give you one. They take time, processing, and collaboration with the HR team. If things are taking a long time, don’t be afraid to put on some pressure. If you’ve already been promised a promotion and are wondering why everything is taking so long, arrange a meeting with your boss. You can ask your boss and the team what you need to do to speed things along. If the pieces aren’t falling into place and your boss says the promotion is coming but doesn’t follow through, it may be time to consider employment elsewhere. Having a counter offer may also help you leverage a promotion, but this route should be done with extra care, seeing as how this could backfire against you.

Related: 9 Essential Job Search Resources for College Students

Getting a promotion won’t happen overnight, even though you wish it would. But don’t give up hope, because there are plenty of things you can do to get the ball rolling. Be brave and believe in your abilities by asking for a promotion, or seek out a new job if things don’t turn out as you would have hoped. Ultimately, you must do what’s right and consider which decisions will best align with your goals now and in the future.

Looking for more great career advice? Check out our Internships and Careers section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

career advice careers internships and careers jobs postgrad promotions

About Carynes Gitler

Carynes Gitler maintains daily contact with every property that 217 South manages and plays a pivotal role in overseeing the company's office structure and staffing.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

Hannah Nelsen

Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find the school I am currently attending by consistently sending me emails of other schools. This allowed me to do research on other schools as well as the one I am in now!

College Matches