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How to Discuss a Career Growth Path with Your Boss: Tips for Asking for a Promotion

Maria Petit

Knowing when the time is right to discuss a career growth path with your boss can be difficult. You may feel like you are stuck in your position or that you are not progressing as quickly as you would like. 

It is important to remember that it is ok to have these conversations with your boss is okay. They may be expecting them! In this blog post, we will give you tips on how to approach the conversation and what to do if your boss is a bit reluctant about it.

Let’s begin!

If you think the lack of employee development opportunities in your current job prevents you from reaching your full potential, you are not alone! In fact, if you feel this way, you are in the 74% of employees that think so.

This statistic is coherent with Gallup data showing that 87% of millennials consider “professional or career growth and development opportunities” to be crucial in a work. That’s a lot of people! Which leads us to the question: what is so important about career development? What’s behind it?

Why Ask for a Promotion? 

Career development is not only about reaching our personal career goals. It’s also about the company you work for achieving its objectives. When an organization develops its employees, it is investing in its future. 

Think about it this way: if you are a good employee and you are happy with your job, you are more likely to stay with the company for a longer period of time. This reduces employee turnover and saves the company money in training and recruiting new employees. 

As well, career development is linked to employee engagement. In fact, according to a study by Deloitte, employees who do not feel that their company offers them opportunities for career growth are twice as likely to say career development is essential, but only 30% of employees feel their company is doing a good job at career development.

Now, we hope you are working for a company that values ambition! If this is your first rodeo asking for a promotion and you don’t know if your company is open to the suggestion, we will lend you a hand!

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Tips for Asking for a Promotion: A Guideline

When discussing career growth with your boss, it is important to be clear about why you are looking for a promotion. What are your motivations? For example, do you want:

  • More responsibility?
  • A raise? 
  • More interesting work? 
  • Flexible hours? 
  • To relocate? 

By being clear about what you want, you can ensure that the conversation is productive and focused. It will also show your boss that you have thought carefully about your career goals and how they align with the company’s values and vision.

So, how do you tell your boss you want to grow? Here are a few tips:

Ask Yourself: Am I Ready for Promotion?

Before discussing career growth with your boss, it’s essential to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I have the required skills and experience for the position I want? 
  • Is my performance review up-to-date? 
  • Have I been meeting (or exceeding) my targets? 

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you are likely ready for a promotion. Therefore let your boss know you are up for it!

Be Aware of Your Options

It is important to be aware of the different options that are available to you!

For example, some companies may have formal programs in place that offer structured career development opportunities. Others may be more flexible and allow employees to create their own development plans. 

Some common options include: 

  • Mentorship programs
  • Job shadowing
  • Cross-training
  • Formal education or training courses 

Do your research and find out what is available to you before you have a conversation with your boss. This way, you can come up with a few specific suggestions of what you would like to do. 

Showcase The Reason Why You Deserve a Promotion

Possible career growth opportunities aside, it is important to demonstrate to your boss why you feel ready for a promotion. This may include highlighting your accomplishments and successes in your current role, as well as outlining any new skills or knowledge that you have acquired.

For example, if you are looking for a leadership role, you could discuss how you have successfully managed projects or teams in the past. Or, if you are looking for a more specialized position, you could discuss the new skills and knowledge you have gained through courses or self-study. 

By showcasing your value to the company, you will increase the chances of getting the career growth opportunity you are looking for!

Pick the Right Time 

When it comes to discussing a career growth path with your boss, timing is everything. You don’t want to wait too long, as this may make it seem like you are not interested in progressing within the company. However, you also don’t want to ask for a promotion too soon- this could come across as pushy or entitled. 

A good rule of thumb is to wait until you have been with the company for at least six months. This will give you time to settle into your role and demonstrate your value to the company. It will also show your boss that you are committed to the organization and are looking for a long-term career opportunity. 

Another thing to consider is whether there is anything going on within the company that might make now a particularly good or bad time to ask for a promotion

For example, if the company is going through a restructuring, it may not be the best time to discuss career development. On the other hand, if there has been recent growth or expansion, this could be an ideal time to ask for more responsibility. 

Schedule a Meeting With Your Manager or Boss

Of course, you have to take the lead and make your superiors know you are requesting some of their time. When you schedule a meeting, you have the opportunity to have a focused conversation and will help your boss to provide their undivided attention. 

When requesting a meeting, be sure to include what you would like to discuss in the subject line or email body. This will ensure that your boss knows what the meeting is about, and can prepare accordingly. 

If possible, try to schedule the meeting for a time when you know your boss will be free and not rushed. For example, avoid scheduling it right before or after another meeting or during lunchtime. 

Be Prepared 

Once you have scheduled a meeting with your boss, it is important to go into the meeting with a clear understanding of what you would like to discuss, the professional path you would like to take, as well as any specific career development opportunities that you are interested in.

It is also essential to be prepared to answer any questions your boss may have. For example, they may want to know why you feel ready for a promotion or what skills and experience you have that make you a good fit for the role you are interested in. 

Make It About the Company, Not You

Always make sure to frame your career development discussion in terms of how it will benefit the company, not just you. For example, if you are interested in a leadership role, discuss how you could use your skills and experience to help mentor and develop other employees. 

If you are looking for a more specialized position, discuss how your new skills and knowledge could be used to benefit the company. By framing your career development goals in terms of how they will benefit the company, you will increase your chances of getting the career growth opportunity you are looking for!

Be Reasonable 

Once you have discussed your career development goals with your boss, it is time to start negotiating. Remember to be reasonable in your expectations and be prepared to compromise. For example, if you are asking for a promotion, be prepared to discuss the salary increase you expect. 

It is also important to remember that career growth is not always about moving up the corporate ladder. Sometimes, it can mean taking on more responsibility or increasing your workload. If this is the case, make sure to discuss how this will benefit both you and the company. 

Be Ready for Feedback 

When you have this conversation with your boss, be prepared to receive feedback- both positive and negative. Your boss may have some constructive criticism about your performance to date, or they may tell you that now is not a good time to ask for a promotion. Try to take this feedback in stride and use it as an opportunity to improve. 

Learn to receive feedback effectively!

If your boss does agree to give you a promotion, congratulations! This is a great accomplishment and a sign that your hard work is paying off. Once you have been promoted, be sure to set some new career goals and continue working towards them. 

Always Follow up After

If you’ve had a meeting with your boss to discuss a promotion, it’s important to follow up afterward. This shows that you’re invested in the opportunity and are willing to take initiative. You can follow up by sending a thank-you note or email, reiterating your interest in the position, and outlining your qualifications. 

This is also a good time to mention any additional skills or experience you may have gained since the meeting. If you take the time to follow up after your meeting, you’ll demonstrate your dedication and commitment to your career goals, making it more likely that you’ll receive the promotion you’re after.

Be Patient, Young Padawan!

As Master Yoda would constantly say to Luke Skywalker, “patience you must have, my young padawan.” The same is true when it comes to career growth. Just because you don’t get the promotion or career opportunity you want right away doesn’t mean it will never happen. 

Career growth does not happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work

Keep working hard, and continue to have discussions with your boss about your career development goals. With time and patience, you will eventually reach the level of success you are striving for!

Tips for Advancing in Your Career

Some may think promotion is your boss’ decision. We can agree it is 50/50 decision. You can take charge of your career by being proactive and pursuing opportunities to grow. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Develop a good relationship with your boss: This means keeping them updated on your progress, being honest about your career goals, and asking for feedback. 
  • Learn more: Always be willing to take on new assignments and responsibilities. This will show your boss that you are eager to learn and grow within the company. 
  • Make sure to document your accomplishments: This can be done by keeping a portfolio of your work or creating a career journal. When time comes for performance reviews or salary negotiations, you will have them on hand.
  • Be patient and understand that career growth takes time: It is important to set goals and work towards them, but it is also important to be prepared for setbacks along the way. 
  • Remember to always frame your career development goals in terms of how they will benefit the company- not just you. By doing this, you will show your boss that you are thinking about the company’s best interests, and not just yourself.

Final Considerations

When you decide to discuss a career growth path with your boss, remember to be reasonable in your expectations, be prepared to compromise, and be ready for feedback.

It is also important to keep in mind that career growth is not always about moving up the corporate ladder- sometimes it can mean taking on more responsibility or increasing your workload. 

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to advancing in your career! Just remember to be patient and always keep your eye on the prize. If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other career-related blog posts! 

-The Monitask Team

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