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CAREER TIPS - Ready To Ask For A Promotion? Don’t Make These 5 Tragic Mistakes

Posted 22nd February 2022 • Written by Dana Brownlee on •

Virtually no one relishes the idea of asking the boss for a promotion no matter how well-deserved (even overdue) it might be. The sad truth is that deserving high performers often miss out on opportunities to advance their careers simply because they aren’t comfortable advocating for their own advancement. That mistake can be a costly one—not just for one’s bank account but also their confidence, long-term career trajectory and professional development. Indeed, if you’re thinking about asking for a promotion, consider these five common mistakes that too many professionals make.

Mistake #1 – Not Consistently Promoting Your Achievements

Professionals with real career management savvy understand that their job isn’t just to perform well but also to promote their accomplishments—not in an arrogant, obsessive way but in a way that’s measured but consistent. Make sure your boss is consistently kept in the loop so they’re not surprised when you broach the subject of promotion readiness.

Mistake #2 – Waiting To Be Recognized

Contrary to what our inner procrastinator may tempt us into thinking, waiting for others to notice our brilliance is rarely the best way to manage one’s career. If you’re interested in increased responsibility, a higher visibility assignment, an expanded role or even if you just think you’ve demonstrated increased value to the organization in your current role, it’s important for you to speak up to make that known. After all, managers aren’t mind readers.

Mistake #3 – Not Being Prepared with a Compelling Case

Don’t make the mistake of approaching the promotion ask too casually. Don’t assume you’re deserving of a promotion simply because you’ve “done well” or achieved a certain tenure mark (unless those types of requirements are generally understood to be grounds for promotion). Instead, pull together a compelling case for why you’re ready now.

Mistake #4 – Not Practicing “The Ask”

Asking for a promotion is the type of conversation one should actually practice—not “thinking about it in your head” type practice but literally practicing with a friend or in front of a mirror. Practicing isn’t about memorizing wording or preparing for a robotic recitation; instead, it’s about developing a comfort level talking about yourself and your capabilities and strategically preparing for the questions or even challenges that may arise.

Mistake #5 – Asking By Email

While emailing your request may be easier, it’s also much riskier. This is absolutely a conversation you should have face to face (whether virtual or live) While face to face communication is ideal, even a video call will suffice.

While most don’t look forward to “the talk” with a manager about being promoted, the right preparation can position you for success. The “promotion discussion” isn’t an everyday conversation so it requires a different level of preparation. Take the time to prepare correctly, and reap the rewards you deserve.

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