How to get promoted at work

Positioning yourself for a promotion comes down to a few things. One, are you ready for the next step and added responsibility? Two, are you good at your job? Three, are you prepared to ask your boss? If the answer is yes to all of these, then read our 10 steps on how to get promoted.


  1. Do your research and set a goal
  • Pay attention to who else has been promoted.
  • Consider what position the company is in at the moment, it might be that they are making layoffs which means it might not be appropriate.
  • Consider what you have achieved in your role, especially over the past 12 months. Think about how you’ve positively impacted the company and any additional projects and responsibilities you’ve taken on.
  • When asking for a promotion, is it clear what role you would step into, or do you need to research what your new role would look like? It might be that promotions in your organisation are scarce and so you want to be confident in exactly what you’re asking for and if it’s possible to achieve.
  • Let’s talk money – if you’re asking for a promotion just for a higher salary you either need to justify both or consider whether you should just be asking for a salary raise. Not all promotions will secure a significant pay rise if you’re already near the top of your current job pay band, so it will be worth researching the average pay for your role and for the role you want to be in.
  1. Discuss your ambition with your boss
  • You might already have a development plan in place with clear goals, or you might have one coming up that you want to prepare for. Whatever the reason is for wanting a promotion you need to have that discussion with your boss so they can support you and ensure you’re on the right path.
  • Ask for feedback on your current performance and role. It might be that your opinion and your boss’s opinion on your performance is slightly different, so double check this first.
  • Show you have done your research and communicate your worth.
  • Agree what your new role/responsibilities will look like, you don’t want to go to all this effort to find out that the promotion isn’t what you hoped for. Make sure you clarify, or at least ask, what the promotion would involve if you’re unsure.
  • Confirm whether it’s something that can be agreed now or if you’ll have a review in an agreed timeframe. If you arrange a follow up review, agree this timeframe now.
  • Find out if there are any micro goals which will help achieve your overall goal and establish an updated development plan that will demonstrate your leadership skills and route to promotion.
  • When explaining that you are looking for feedback in order to progress and be promoted, you can use phrases such as:

    “I feel confident that I am ready to take on greater responsibilities.”

    “I have consistently demonstrated my desire to grow in this role and would love to discuss my progress with you.”

    “I am eager to continue contributing to the success of this organisation in a more senior capacity.”

    “I have successfully completed several key projects and have consistently exceeded performance targets, demonstrating my ability in this role and my readiness to progress.”

  1. Do what you say you’re going to do – and more
  • Once you’ve agreed your development plan with your boss, make sure that you actually do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Be proactive about how you tackle your work and find ways that you can go above and beyond expectations. You really want to make sure that you’re a person of action.
  • If you’re unsure how you can go beyond your job role, just ask. It might be that you could support a colleague with a project or piece of work in some way. The little things don’t go unnoticed.
  1. Work smarter and harder – demonstrate your skills and hit your targets
  • Yes, you could just work smarter, but never take your foot off the pedal. You need to show your prepared for more responsibility and the next step.
  • Being goal-orientated is important to keep you on track, so if it means writing them down and checking in with yourself at the beginning or end of every week, do it.
  1. Have a strong work ethic
  • Prioritise your work and key projects. If you’ve agreed to take on more work, you need to be dedicated to getting it done.
  • This also includes looking professional. This doesn’t necessarily mean wearing the latest designer clothes but keeping yourself looking sharp and tidy makes a good impression.
  1. Don’t forget your long-term goals
  • Make sure anything asked of you is in-line with your long-term ambitions. If you’ve been asked to learn new skills or work in new territory, you don’t want to veer too much off course. You can easily get sucked into the idea of a promotion and more money but if it is at the cost of what you really want to do, take a minute to check if it’s taking you where you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time.
  • Also remember that a promotion won’t fix a bad job, if you’re hoping a step up will make your life better, it might just make it harder in the same company. So, make sure this route will give you what you need to pursue your career goals.
  1. Work on your relationships and networks
  • Collaborate with your team and help others where you can. Even if you aren’t greeted with the same courtesy, how you react and treat other people will always speak wonders and show them that you’re ready for a more senior role.
  • Ask other successful people who have achieved what you want to achieve, how they did it. Don’t be hesitant to ask, you might be surprised how flattered they would be that someone wants their advice.
  1. Have the meeting
  • Have a persuasive argument ready which highlights exactly why you should be promoted.
  • Make a note of everything that you’ve made a success of in concise points. If you can, include key stats or figures.
  • Be clear on what you expect. For example, if you’re asking for a salary raise, you could say something like: “in line with my new responsibilities, I’d like to talk about increasing my salary by 15%.”
  1. Be prepared for a “no” or “not yet”
  • Even if it’s a “no” or “not yet”, hopefully it doesn’t mean no forever. Either way, despite your best efforts, your boss might explain to you why it’s not possible for a promotion right now. Hopefully their reasoning will be understandable but be cautious of false promises.
  • If they’ve given you constructive feedback on where you still need to improve, take that opportunity to continue to prove yourself if you think it’s worthwhile. Otherwise, it might be time to look elsewhere and consider plan B.
  1. Stay positive, patient, and professional
    • If the answer is yes, congratulations – you did it!
    • Follow up with a thank you note and bring up anything else appropriate such as next steps and turnaround times.
    • Don’t get impatient if they haven’t come back to you straight away, you’ve done everything you can, you just need to remain patient and professional.
    • Put together a plan of how you will tackle your next steps and transition into your new role.

Now, put these tips into action and go get your promotion – good luck!