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The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

How to Ask for a Promotion

By Pam Parseghian

How to ask for a promotion.Is there a right way to ask for a promotion? We asked successful people across various professional backgrounds and found different perspectives. But everyone agreed on one point: Always remember to frame your justification for a higher-level job based on what you have contributed rather than what the employer should give you.

In most bosses’ minds, the question of whether to give an employee a promotion is not about you. Their primary allegiance is to their employer and the business’ success. It is your job to help them see how you’re contributing to that and then ask for what you’d like in return.

The bottom line is that spending more money is probably not on anyone’s mind, especially during these challenging economic times, but if you take some time to understand the process before proceeding, you may find winning results.

Start with the advice shared below from our diverse group of business resources: Terri Kurtzberg, associate professor of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School and co-author of “The Essentials of Job Negotiations: Proven Strategies for Getting What You Want”; Alan Gould, board member of the Multi-Cultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance and of Healthy Dining, a nutrition marketing and consulting company; Lauren Hebert, manager, Client Management, at Educational Testing Service (recently promoted herself); and Linda Funk, president of Flavorful Insight, a public relations and marketing communications agency.

Never tell your boss that you deserve a raise just because of the time you’ve put in.

“Reasons like, ‘I've been here for a year without a promotion/raise,’ are not nearly as convincing as, ‘I've taken on more responsibility and have accomplished XYZ, and am ready to take the next step,’” says Kurtzberg.

Stand out in simple ways.

Always make a great impression by looking professional, acting professional and having a positive attitude – and do what you can to develop a reputation as a team player.

Exceed expectations.

Solve problems, take on tasks before you are asked and set higher goals for yourself and your work than are required.

Do the legwork.

When you ask for a meeting with your boss to discuss your potential promotion, find the best time and place for your supervisor, have an agenda written up ahead of time and prepare a list of points showing how you helped your company succeed.

Network with higher-ups.

Take advantage of opportunities to get to know managers and executives within your company, whether it’s at meetings or company social events. If those key personnel know who you are and even better, know positive things about your work, your name is more likely to come up when an opening comes up.

Let others be your cheerleaders.

Be prepared to provide endorsements from clients, co-workers and a cost/benefit analysis that justifies your request, if appropriate.

Follow up.

Ask for a second meeting with your boss to ask for his/her decision. If it’s favorable, ask how you can help finish the promotion process. For example, communicate with human resources and or higher-level executives as needed. Make the process of your promotion simple for your boss.

Pam Parseghian is a freelance writer based in the New York metro area.

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