How to request a promotion

Taking charge of your career is important, and for someone who’s motivated enough to learn new languages and develop new skills, progress is important. If you’ve been working hard and demonstrating you can take on extra responsibility in the workplace, seeking a promotion is a natural step. The challenge is making it happen rather than waiting for it happen.

Asking for a promotion takes a lot of courage at the best of times. But handling such a tricky situation in a foreign language can be especially tough. Making sure you’re using the correct polite, professional and persuasive tone can be challenging, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had to make such a request.

Starting the conversation

If you’re hoping for a promotion, the first step is to request a meeting with your manager to discuss your career development. Make sure you both have adequate time to prepare for the conversation– ask a few days in advance so you have time to get your ideas together.

Getting ready

To make the meeting a success, you’ll need to do your research. Have a look at some recruitment websites and find roles that sound similar to the one you’re hoping for. You can show these to your manager as examples of how you see your role developing. Looking at job descriptions is also a good way of benchmarking the salary for your role, but more about that later…

Hopefully your manager appreciates the great work you do already, but you’ll still need to convince them that you’re worthy of a promotion. Make sure you come to the meeting prepared with a list of your achievements and aspirations so that you can make a convincing case. Bring examples of how you have excelled in your role – as well as copies of any good feedback you’ve received. This is an opportunity to show off your best projects and talk about any new skills you’ve acquired.

Preparing to listen

Remember that your meeting with your manager should be a two-way conversation – take time to ask them how they feel about your performance, where they see room for improvement and whether they would recommend any training and development.

It’s up to you to manage the time during the meeting. If you only have 20 minutes, ensure that once you have made your points, there is still ample time for your manager to share his or her thoughts and recommendations. It’s unlikely that they will make a decision in your favour if they feel pressured to decide too quickly, so be prepared for them to ask for more time to think about it.


Receiving a promotion means receiving a pay rise – but many of us can be squeamish about discussing these details. Often, it’s easier to simply accept what you’re offered – but this can mean you aren’t getting what you’re worth.  Research can be invaluable when negotiating a salary increase. Take a look at what a few different companies are offering for the role you want, and work out the average salary – this can be your starting point when discussing your expectations. If your manager agrees to the promotion, ask what the salary implications are. If the estimate they give you is less than your expectations, tell them you have researched the average wage for the role and tell them the amount. It’s also worth telling them if you have any additional skills which you think make you worth more than the average salary, or reminding them if the company has a policy of paying wages above the industry average.

Knowing where you stand

Regardless of whether your manager agrees to the promotion during your meeting, asks for more time to think about it or feels you need to develop a little more before moving to the next level, you should end the meeting by defining the next steps. If your promotion has been agreed, ask when this will be made official and when you will be sent a job description and contract. If your manager has asked for more time to think about things, ask if you can schedule another meeting within the next week. If further development is required, finish the meeting by requesting an action plan outlining the steps you need to take to secure the promotion. Being clear about the next steps will help you feel confident and empowered whatever the outcome.

Following up

One way to build confidence in your abilities is to be efficient and responsive. After the meeting, send your manager an email thanking them for their time and summarising the key points you discussed as well as any milestones you agreed. If you were promised a job description or further discussion by a certain date and don’t receive it, send a gentle reminder and ask when you can expect a decision. If you’ve been given a list of development points, make sure you keep your manager up to date with your progress and let them know as soon as you have achieved each goal.

What tips have you got for requesting a promotion from your seniors?  Any success stories you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Similar article: How to improve your Business English writing skills