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If you’re thinking you’re ready for a promotion, the timing couldn’t be better. Unemployment remains low and companies are looking optimistically toward a new year of increased productivity and earnings.

Of course, companies always want to hit their financial goals. For some, that will mean considering artificial intelligence and embracing technology that doesn’t require humans. At the same time companies will look to the capabilities of their current staff and, whenever possible, promote from within.

Why? Because with a ~4% unemployment rate, utilizing existing staff is efficient and always less expensive than competing on the outside for new employees.

So, right now, it’s all lining up nicely for you to ask for additional responsibility… and higher compensation.

But before you march into your boss’s office and declare, “Promote me! I’m ready!” here are some things to think about.


1) Research Your Worth

The best way to make a case for a promotion, and better compensation is to find out what the competition pays for the work you are proposing. Knowing the market rate for your skills quantifies your value to your company.

You can research compensation through publicized job descriptions, online resources like Glass Door, and through LinkedIn or in person conversations with colleagues at other companies.

After you research the external market, poke around internally and talk with senior colleagues you can trust. Lay out what you offer and what your compensation research uncovered. Gauge their reaction. Ask for their advice about the timing of making your ask.

For some companies, higher base compensation may not be possible. If you want to stay with the company, get creative. Flexible hours, better benefits, stock options, and more vacation are all ways to improve your overall package.



2) Focus on Service

Develop your pitch as you would for any client or investor meeting. Always put the goals of the company first. Then get specific describing how in your new role you can better help your company reach those goals.

Your pitch doesn’t have to be long, just organized and specific.

Use the following as an organizing principle:

GOALS – Open your pitch with company goals

GAPS –  Identify the gaps you believe exist for reaching those goals

GLUE – Position your new role as the glue-the connective tissue- between where your department or workgroup currently sits and where it needs to go to help your company reach its goals

And of course, prepare to talk about compensation.


3) Practice Your Pitch & Ask

Your research will help you make the case for a promotion. But the confidence you demonstrate when discussing money is critical to a productive conversation and closing the deal. Confidence and clarity at the moment you ask for higher compensation solidifies your case.

Practicing helps you boil down your pitch and ensures that you don’t ramble on and on-something lots of people do when they are nervous or uncomfortable.

Practicing lets you try out different approaches and run through different conversation scenarios. Ask mentors or friends to act the part of your supervisor so you can practice in a live situations. Feedback from multiple sources is invaluable. There is no worse feeling than leaving a meeting with the thought, “I wish I had reacted better when my boss said ….”

In addition to the content of your pitch, ask your audience to offer feedback on your body language, eye contact, and tone and cadence of your voice. Your goal is to present yourself as calm, confident, and optimistic.


Even with good research and a well-rehearsed pitch, it’s reasonable to be nervous about asking for a promotion or more money. You can expect one of four options – “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe” or “New Idea”.

Got a YES response? Congratulations! You have just taken another step forward on your career path.

What about the other three? Your in the moment response to MAYBE, NO, or NEW IDEA requires a bit more space, so we’ll talk about how to approach and manage these responses next month.

In the meantime, get started on your research and begin to practice your pitch!

Promotions and raises are acknowledgements of mutual value. With a promotion you get an expanded role and hopefully compensation that’s aligned with your contribution. And your company gets a motivated, experienced, and enthusiastic employee.

It’s a Win-Win.


Share your experience.
What’s worked for you?

Until Next Month…..