How to Get a Promotion (7 Easy Steps)

May 10, 2023

15 min read

Learning how to get a promotion is a critical skill for career growth.

Are you due for a promotion? Now might be the perfect time to learn how to get a promotion. 

You’ve been in your position for a while, and you believe you deserve a promotion. Now you just need to convince your boss that the time is right. We’ll go over everything you need to know, including how to ask for a promotion, when to do it, what to tell your boss, and most importantly, how to prepare and practice for the conversation.

What’s a Promotion?

A promotion at work generally refers to either a title change and a raise in your salary. So, for example, if you get a promotion you might get:

  • Promoted to a position that pays more (with a new title too)
  • A raise in your salary while maintaining your same title and responsibilities 
  • More responsibilities for your position, warranting a pay raise

How can I increase my chances of getting promoted?

It can be difficult to get promoted. But you can put in a little effort to increase your chances of getting promoted. For example, if you want to boost your chances of a promotion, be sure to:

  • Show that you’re already at the “next level” by participating in meetings, asking intelligent questions, and taking on more projects and tasks
  • Act as a leader, not just in meetings but also as a coworker
  • Set a good example for the workplace 
  • Brush up on your existing capabilities and learn new skills

There are also things that can decrease your chance of getting a promotion, such as:

  • Coming to work late
  • Participating in office or “water cooler” gossip
  • Skipping meetings
  • Missing deadlines
  • Engaging in “quiet quitting” 

What percent raise is typical for a promotion?

It can vary employer to employer, but a typical percent raise for a promotion is usually around 3% as long as it’s within the same company. 

However, if you’re switching jobs, that percent raise might look more like 10% to 20%. 

What makes someone promotable?

Nearly anyone is capable of getting a promotion, but as mentioned above, there are certain things that can make someone more “promotable.” 

For example, people who go above and beyond at work are often seen as more promotable. People who are “givers” and not “takers” are seen as more worthy of getting a promotion. 

When to Ask for a Promotion

Before you move forward with asking for a promotion, make sure you’re familiar with your company’s current promotion policies, eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures for applying for a promotion. Once you have clarity, and you believe you’re eligible, a few more stars need to align for the time to be right. Here’s what should come together:

  • There’s an opportunity for advancement. Your company actually has an open position that aligns with your career goals and skills — or such a position might be created. It’s possible that you could carve out a new space if you demonstrate that you can bring value to your company in a new role of your own making.
  • You’ve been with the company — and in your current position — long enough. Of course, “long enough” is a relative amount of time that you’ll have to intuit or determine based on the experience of others or the policy of the company.
  • You deserve a promotion. Make sure you’ve consistently demonstrated excellent performance in your current role and have exceeded the expectations of your employer.
  • The company is growing. If your organization is going through downsizing and layoffs, it’s probably not the best time to put yourself forward to be, um, put forward. Unless, of course, you’re a genius at managing sinking ships and could come to the aid of your ailing company. But, if your organization is hiring and its budget is growing, it could be a great time to ask for a promotion.
  • Your boss isn’t too busy or stressed. Even if your supervisor is happy with you, they might have too much on their plate to take on one more thing. Don’t push it; wait for a more opportune time.

It might be helpful for you to schedule a preliminary meeting with your boss to discuss your career goals and ask for feedback on your performance. That will help you gauge the situation and make a wise decision about moving forward with a promotion request.

How to Get a Promotion in 7 Steps

Getting promoted at work is a big deal. Regardless of the outcome, being promoted means your employer has acknowledged your great work, responsibilities, and professional worth. 

If it’s been a while since your last advancement, it might be time to learn how to get a promotion. 

Here’s how to get a promotion in seven steps.

1. Put on your ‘game face’ and step up to the plate.

First things first: You need to put on your “game face” and step up to the challenge. Before learning how to get a promotion, you need to be as “promotion-worthy” as possible in your employer’s eyes. This means you need to be a model employee. 

For example, you should be the role model other coworkers look up to. Model employees will do things like: 

  • Show up on time (always)
  • Be a “team player” for the company
  • Complete high quality work
  • Take initiative in meetings or through tasks and projects 
  • Be willing and excited to learn new things
  • Exude confidence, positivity, and enthusiasm 
  • Respect not only the boss, but the coworkers too

2. Be a problem solver. 

If you’re not a problem solver, that should be your next step. People who get promoted at work are often described as self-sufficient problem solvers. 

Plus, if you look at the leaders of your company, you might notice that they share a common trait: being capable of resolving issues themselves. 

It can be easy to identify and point out a problem at work. For example, maybe you notice that only 50% of your team shows up to meetings. That’s a problem. 

While some employees would immediately alert their boss, leaders will step up to the plate and put their problem solving skills to the test. Instead of bugging your boss with the problem you noticed, try solving it yourself. 

In this case, with half the team not showing up to meetings, you could brainstorm solutions. A problem solver might suggest things like:

  • Talking with team members to find out why they aren’t showing up
  • Setting more defined boundaries and expectations for the team
  • Ensuring that the meeting agenda is clear, organized, and sensible
  • Following up after you’ve had a conversation with the team

Being a problem solver is a huge part of learning how to get a promotion. 

3. Pick up some new skills.

The more skills you have as an employee, the more valuable you are to your employer. If your goal is to get promoted soon, put in the effort to learn a few new skills that can aid in your work. 

For example, there are tons of useful skills that can be applicable in almost any work environment, such as:

  • Being able to conduct and comprehend data analysis
  • Programming or coding
  • Knowing a foreign language

However, you can also learn a few new industry-specific skills, such as getting familiar with some SEO basics as an editor of an online magazine. 

4. Make your employer look good.

It goes without saying that you never want to make your employer look bad. But going out of your way to make your employer look good is essential for people learning how to get a promotion.

In a nutshell, doing your job well is the simplest way to impress your boss (and your boss’ boss). Still, there are other things that can help make your employer look good, including:

  • Taking initiative and not waiting around for instructions
  • Being positive and enthusiastic about your job and the work you’re doing
  • Showing that you’re a dependable employee who can be trusted
  • Keeping your boss up to date on what’s going on
  • Giving credit to your boss when they complete an important task

At the end of the day, going above and beyond is a surefire way to make your boss look good.

5. Practice asking for a promotion.

There’s no doubt that asking for a promotion can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice asking for a promotion. 

It can help to start by writing down everything you do for the company, including your daily responsibilities and your most impressive accomplishments. Doing this helps highlight why you’re worthy of a promotion in the first place. 

Make some notes for yourself that include these details:

  • How long you’ve been with the company
  • How long you’ve been in your current position
  • Specific things you’ve learned and accomplished in your current position (this might include data that you should have ready)
  • Specific ways you’ve gone above and beyond expectations
  • Your qualifications for the position you want to take (include your specific qualifications as a leader, if the position requires leadership)

You can even go so far as to write your entire pitch down, word for word, so you can practice it. 

When you ask for a promotion, you’re basically applying for a new job. Treat it that way. Understand the qualifications, and show how you meet them. Research the salary range for the position you’re interested in, and be ready to negotiate if necessary. Be prepared to discuss the tasks of the new role.

Indeed, a promotion means assuming additional responsibilities and learning new things. Make it clear that you’re not just willing to take on new challenges and greater responsibility; you’re eager to do it. Being ready for a promotion basically means that you’ve outgrown your current position. Convince your boss that you’ll be more valuable to the company in an advanced role.

To practice, you can either enlist a friend or family member’s help to roleplay as your boss. However, a better idea might be to use an interview simulation like Yoodli (more on that below!).

6. Ask your boss for a promotion.

This is perhaps the most nerve-wracking step of how to get a promotion: Actually asking your boss for a promotion. 

Make sure you set some time aside for the conversation. If you have the option to discuss the matter in person, request a private meeting with your boss. With so many remote jobs these days, this might not be possible. If it’s not, request a video conference or a phone call. Whether it’s a virtual meeting or an in-person meeting, schedule a time that works for both you and your boss. 

Even though you’re scheduling a time to meet, you don’t want to drop a bomb by waiting until the meeting to tell your boss what it’s about. When you request the time, let your boss know that you want to talk about your position and opportunities for advancement.

You might specifically say that you’d like to discuss your qualifications and eligibility for the role in question. Use your best judgment and your knowledge of your boss’s style and preferences. The main thing is not to catch them off guard; you want to give them a chance to prepare for the conversation.

Keep in mind that you’re making a case; you’re building an argument. Your goal is to persuade your boss that you deserve a promotion. That means that you need to present the reasons why you deserve it. You must convince your boss of two things: 

  1. You’re ready in general to advance, and 
  2. You’re qualified for the particular position you want to take on

Always begin the conversation by thanking your boss for taking time out of their day to meet with you. It’s a great segue into asking for a promotion. Don’t lead off with “the big ask.” Instead, start with a statement that you want to discuss the possibility of your advancement.

Express your gratitude for the time you’ve already spent with the company and under your boss’s leadership. Let them know that it’s your pleasure to be part of the team. Tell them that you’re excited about the future of the company and that you want to be part of it. Make it clear that you’ve already contributed to the company, and you’re ready to make a greater contribution.

During the meeting, highlight and provide examples of your best, most impressive accomplishments in your position. Give an overview of your daily responsibilities and how you go above and beyond in your role.  

Be ready to negotiate, too. Even if your boss says no to your first proposal, you can always try to come back with a different salary number if your employer thinks your first pitch was too high.

7. Respond graciously, either way.

You might get an instant yes. Perhaps you’ll get an instant no. Your supervisor might have feedback on areas where you can improve before being considered for a promotion. If that’s the case, be receptive and grateful. Then, prepare to take action to address any areas for improvement.

If you just get a hard no, ask what you can do to meet their expectations for the role or whether there’s another position that you should aim for. This is a dialogue, so ask good questions and listen well for recommendations and direction. Be sure to thank your supervisor for their time and helpful feedback, and express a positive outlook for the future.

Practicing How to Ask for a Promotion

Whether you ask for a promotion in person, over the phone, or via web conferencing, it’s in the context of a live conversation. It’s wise to practice what you plan to say and how to deal with follow-up questions. The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach can help with both of these. It’s free, fun, and effective. Here’s how to practice your promotion conversation with Yoodli.

Presenting your case

  • Sign up or sign in at
  • Make sure you have a camera and microphone connected. (If you don’t want to use the video feature, Yoodli will record just the audio. You just won’t get feedback on visual aspects of your delivery, such as eye contact.)
  • Hover over Practice, and select Speech.
  • Click Start.
  • Record what you plan to say. Then, click on Stop and Save Recording.
  • In just a moment, Yoodli will provide you with a transcript of what you said and analytics on your word choices and delivery. This includes feedback on your filler words, weak words, etc.

Answering follow-up questions

  • Hover over Practice, and select Interview.
  • Click on “I want to practice with my own questions.”
  • In the My Questions area, manually enter a question you think you might be asked during the conversation. For example, you could add “Are you willing to put in more time than your current position requires?” or “Are you ready to lead a team of people?”
  • Toggle on the Ask Me AI Follow-Ups. (This option works for one question at a time because it generates the next question based on your answer to the first question.)
  • When you’re ready, click on Start Practicing.

This video walks you through the generative AI follow-ups feature.

Yoodli is the perfect tool to take advantage of when learning how to get a promotion.

We believe that you’ll find Yoodli’s analytics helpful. The AI follow-up questions give you experience in quick thinking and impromptu speaking, and they help you know what you can expect. And, much of the app’s value is the way it lets you practice on your terms, as much as you want.

Why Didn’t I Get a Promotion?

If you didn’t get a promotion, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Not everyone gets a promotion, especially the first time you ask. 

As you learn how to get a promotion, it’s probably that you’ll hit some roadblocks at some point. 

There are plenty of reasons your boss rejected your request for a promotion. For example, some of the most common reasons employees don’t get promoted include:

  • They aren’t aware of “office politics”
  • Their skills aren’t up-to-par
  • They don’t have enough experience 
  • They don’t meet the expectations of their current role (and don’t go above and beyond)
  • The timing was just bad

How long should you stay in a job without a promotion?

It can be difficult to stay motivated if you haven’t had a promotion. Knowing when to wait it out and when to jump ship is important. 

If you work at a large company, there should be a visible path for you to progress. In this case, you should shoot for getting promoted every five years. This time frame allows you to not only grow in your current role, but also to develop the necessary skills to progress to your next position. 

For smaller companies, it can be tougher to tell. If you work at a small business and haven’t been promoted in a while (or ever), it might be worth having an honest conversation with your boss about where they see you going in the company.

Should I leave if I don’t get promoted?

If you don’t get promoted, you might be tempted to leave the company. Whether or not you should actually do so depends on you and your situation. 

However, the general consensus is that you shouldn’t leave your job if you don’t get promoted. Many consider it the “wrong reason” to quit and leave a company. 

Still, not getting a promotion might lead you to the conclusion that the company isn’t a good fit for you, like if it was a toxic work environment

What to do if you don’t get a promotion

If you don’t get a promotion, don’t beat yourself up. As mentioned above, there are tons of potential reasons why it didn’t work out. Still, here are some next steps you should consider if you don’t get a promotion. 

  1. Ask your boss for feedback. When you get turned down, you might be tempted to force yourself to just move on. However, asking your employer for feedback after your meeting is a great idea. You can ask them for reasons they weren’t able to offer you a promotion and get clarity on how you can get promoted in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics. 
  2. Make a personalized plan for your next steps. Next, make and put in a plan in place for your next steps in your career development. Once you’ve spoken with your boss, you might have some specific areas for improvement to work on. Include these in your plan, along with ideas for how to become better.
  3. Start (or continue) networking. Networking with other professionals is always important, but even more so after you’ve asked for a promotion. Getting to know people working in your company or even your industry can help ensure you’re privy to new opportunities when they arise. 

The Bottom Line

The more you prepare and practice, the more comfortable you’ll be. And, the more effective your promotion conversation will be. Whatever happens, asking for a promotion is a positive step in advancing your career. Even if you don’t get the promotion you want, the conversation can help you better understand what you need to do to get there in the future. Good luck! 


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