How best to ask for a promotion

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Understand your motives

So where to begin? The logical starting point is to think through and define your desired next step and what you want to achieve, as this can form your major selling point. For example, ask whether your short-term goals are in line with your long-term career strategy. You may want to move into a leadership position, add project management skills to your skills portfolio, bag a new job title or earn more money. Understand your motives.

Once you are clear on your direction, look at the skills required for the promotion. Consider whether there is a gap between what is needed and what you have to offer. If there is, develop a strategy to close the gap.

Knowledge and techniques

It is worth noting that by completing ACCA’s practical experience requirement (PER), you will develop the skills needed in the workplace.

The PER helps you to apply the knowledge and techniques gained through your studies in practice, observe and be involved in real‑life work situations that help you to develop the skills a qualified accountant needs, and to develop your judgment and how you may improve your work performance.

PER also enables you to confirm your effective and sustained high‑quality workplace performance, making you a more valuable employee and more likely to be considered a strong candidate for possible promotion.

Positive contribution

With skills in place, work out a list of those that you can offer your new role and relate them to how they would fill a gap and benefit the company. A request for promotion will always be better received if it demonstrates a positive contribution towards an employer’s goals. As a result, evaluate the company’s overall direction and position and where it is headed.

Also try to make sure there is a budget for your promotion. If the company can accommodate your new position (and, hopefully, salary) and also find someone for your current role, then you have a better chance.

If not, then maybe it will be advisable to try to get more responsibility in your current role. At the very least, it may lead to a better job title and more experience, which is always good for your CV. This is more likely to apply to smaller companies.

Personal selling points

Highlight your career accomplishments and positive contributions and the potential increase from being in a position of higher authority. By justifying a new position, the chances of it happening are far greater. When preparing your personal selling points, highlight both the skills you use in your current job and your untapped skills. Your employer is much more likely to promote you if they think they will get more value out of you.

It is also important to be able to review your own work performance. Is there anything you can do to improve your performance in your current job? Have you been going that extra mile to get things done or doing more than what is asked of you?

It is also worth remembering that, even if your request is turned down, you have nothing to lose. At the very least, you will most likely take on extra work and responsibility.

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