G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

How to Ask For a Promotion in Civilian Careers


In the civilian workforce, promotions are much different from those given in the service. Here are some ways to ask your boss for that job upgrade.

You’ve been at your job a while and feel you are a strong contributor to the team. The next logical step — promotion. Here are four tips on how to navigate the tricky waters of asking for a job upgrade (and more money).

Pick a good time to ask.

Asking for a promotion can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Make sure you pick a good time to ask for that promotion. Just like in the armed forces, there is a time and place for everything in the civilian career sector. Consider asking for a promotion during your annual review. Another good time to ask for a promotion is when someone in a higher position is leaving. Schedule a meeting ahead of time so you have a set time and place to discuss your thoughts with your boss. Heather Huhman in an article entitled “6 Steps to Scoring a Promotion in the Next 30 Days” says “the last thing you should do is ask for a promotion when your boss is obviously overwhelmed with a number of projects or is leaving for vacation.” Keep in mind the timing and you will be off to a good start.

Be prepared to answer why.

Now that you have your boss in the same room and have psyched yourself up, be prepared to answer the question “why do you deserve this promotion?” Huhman makes the case that “after you’ve figured out what position you want, gather your credentials and create a portfolio of your accomplishments.” Come into the meeting prepared with your contributions to your team or position, why you think you deserve the promotion and examples to back up that argument.

Be equipped to negotiate.

Your boss or supervisor may surprise you by agreeing to the promotion right off the bat. If you’re this lucky, then be prepared to negotiate a reasonable raise to go with the new job title and responsibilities. Do some research and know what an expected salary is for your new job. This way you won’t be caught off guard if the topic comes up.

 Don’t get discouraged.

You asked for the promotion and were turned down. This is where your military training can really help you out. Don’t get discouraged and remember the persistence, endurance and determination you learned while serving. Keep those skills with you and remember that asking for a promotion takes a lot of courage and preparation. It also shows your supervisor you’re in it for the long haul. Huhman says it best “if you happen to get passed up for an opportunity you deserve, continue to be persistent and find new ways to lead yourself to your desired position.”

Asking for a promotion is like navigating really rough seas. With a little preparation and determination you will come out on the other side, hopefully with a job upgrade and more money!