Picture this: You roll back to the very first day you joined the organisation and took that leap of faith with experience and ambition that this could be it – The company has the right people, great culture, clear goals and directions … You say to yourself that this could be the company that you will be building your career journey with, developing your skills and heck, this could possibly be the company that you will be retiring with (or maybe let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves…)

Now back to where we are… So how long have you been at your current organisation?

Over a year? 3 years? 5 years? Let’s just say it has been a while. Reflecting on that period, you have become much better at your job, taken on new responsibilities and probably contributed more to the company than you did the year before. With greater visibility of the business and hungry for growth, you envisage moving up the corporate ladder within the organisation.

The only issue is – you are still working your socks off in the very same role whilst everyone else around you seemed to have progressed. You feel underappreciated, overlooked and want to be vocal about a promotion, however you are unsure how to address this with your manager.

Pitching for a promotion can be a very daunting task for many, so here are a few tips that can make the next discussion a successful one:

Stretch that little bit further

Remember, sticking around and doing what you are told or required to is not going to get you that promotion – it is the above and beyond out of the ordinary scope of work that will. Take on that additional responsibility and demonstrate that you can expand your scope, be agile and open to make innovative suggestions. Be accountable for your actions and coupled with your work ethics, skills and energy to set you apart from the rest.

Vocalise your ambition

Let’s face it, not everybody wants to be promoted and some are perfectly happy doing the same job that they are in. Thus, you will need to clearly make the point to your manager rather than sitting there thinking or assuming that “Oh, my boss should know that I am ready and willing for that step up to the senior leadership role”. Unless you make your intentions clear to your manager, you could be overlooked when it comes to a promotion cycle/appraisal. So, take the approach to speak up and get the message across to your manager respectfully in a confident and upbeat manner.

  • “I’m ready to move ahead in the organisation”
  • “I’m enjoying what I do and I look forward to taking on more.”
  • “I’d like to be a candidate for the manager position that’s coming up.”

The above are positive sentiments that makes case points for your manager to be alerted on your professional ability and desire to move upwards.

Do your homework

Knowing that you are now within watchful eyes of your key decision makers, a great way to start working towards that ‘promotion project’ would be to understand what would be the main drivers for one to be worthy of a promotion for the role.

  • What are the requirements needed for me to advance?
  • What are the skills that I will need to develop or demonstrate?
  • How can I best demonstrate them?

Getting a good mix of input from key decision makers and your manager would set the footpath and foundation grounds for you to gear yourself towards it.

Build your case

Often, most of us are guilty at going with the flow when we think we are up for it. A classic example would be a case when appraisals or evaluations are due coming off a good year, so we take the easy way and say, “I guess those numbers speak for themselves – so when am I getting promoted?”. While there are some odd cases of success, many managers take a holistic approach when it comes to promoting apart from just the deliverables alone. This would be the part where you gather your career highlights or milestones of your career journey to date and put it altogether as part of your case. Take note on the key accomplishments and awards that you have achieved during your tenure. Case scenarios of work success/commendations/client recognitions are great value adds that greatly enhances your case profile. Ultimately, you want to be taken seriously when you are in discussion with your manager, so prepare your business case well.

Time it Right

Straightforward enough, many of us get too ahead of ourselves thinking about the possible scenarios of a discussion without actually taking a step back to see if it is the right time to have this discussion with our manager. Identifying and distinguishing a great as opposed to a bad time could be the difference altogether. Steer away from busy periods, audits and take time in understanding when is a good time to have the conversation with your boss. It could be a case when your boss returns from an enjoyable holiday trip or a successful meeting rather than when your boss has just lost an account or suffers a setback in a deal that was meant to materialise. Taking that extra step to understand your manager’s mood could work towards a fruitful discussion.

Make your pitch

Now this is where you put it altogether in your elevator pitch. Your pitch should be a case of addressing the needs of the business and demonstrate how you can be that person to fulfil that.  Always remember that you are pitching yourself to key decision makers in the business, so be genuine on your claims and be clear on what you are asking for, after all they could put you up for it and things can backfire if you cannot stand by those claims. Be sincere and open yourself for constructive learning, feedback and development from them.

If it is not this time, it could be the next! 

Unless you find yourself in a peculiar situation and happen to have a boss that can relate one of those from the Horrible Bosses, you could be in a stronger position during your future pitch for a promotion!