How To Receive The Promotion You’ve Been Striving For

With a new year on the horizon, hiring and job market trends are continuing to blossom by the day – and promotion conversations are no exception. With some reports predicting that the new year will be the time for career development, team members of all tenures are turning to promotions to support higher living costs, additional role responsibilities, and increased expectations in the workplace. 

Whether you’re days or decades into your career, asking for a promotion is (most of the time!) a lot easier said than done. You are not alone if you’re feeling the nerves and anticipation that commonly accompany a promotion conversation, and we are here to help!

We recently sat down with two members of Team Celarity who have each received multiple promotions. Be sure to keep reading as our Lead Recruiter, Jessica Spanier, and Manager of Client Experience, Connor Duffy, break down the signs pointing towards a promotion opportunity, what steps you can take to prepare, and effective ways to make your case.

Signs That It’s Time to Start the Conversation

Although specific times throughout the year may feel most natural to discuss your growth path, there is no limitation on when a promotion conversation can happen. If you go above and beyond at work and feel that you have a solid case to present to your manager, you may be ready to start the conversation sooner than anticipated, which is so exciting!

As Jessica and Connor outline, a few signs point toward being ready to begin a promotion journey, and the conversation may be on the horizon if you have…

  • Mastered the art of your role
  • Motivation and excitement to grow and learn within your role
  • A successful track record spanning multiple responsibilities
  • New credentials through relevant learning resources, training, or courses

Ultimately, no one knows your accomplishments or potential better than you. By thinking through these signs, you’ll be ready to dive deeper into your promotion goals in no time!

Setting Yourself Up For Success

You’ve started the foundation; it’s time to continue with preparation! To help you make the best case possible, here are three steps that we recommend working through before presenting your promotion case to your manager.

1. Reflect

To hit the ground running, you will first want to take an honest, thoughtful look into your career goals and their alignment with your promotion. Ask yourself the difficult questions! 

  • Why do you want a promotion? How do your career goals support a promotion?
  • What does your ideal promotion look like? Which titles interest you? 
  • Are you ready to take on advanced responsibilities? 
  • How will compensation factor into your promotion requests?

These answers will look different for each person, but they are essential to consider before starting the promotion conversation. By clearly understanding exactly what you are looking for, you can confidently make your case – moving you one step closer to achieving your goal!

2. Research

Whether it be online resources, speaking with other professionals in your industry, or even reflecting on the steps of your career growth thus far, thorough research is critical to curating a stellar promotion request.  

There are endless online resources to support your goals, ranging from, Glassdoor insights, or even Celarity’s complete run-down of over 100 Marketing, Creative, and Digital job titles and compensation ranges. Be sure to take note of each of these resources, and write down the pieces that spark your interest the most. Doing so will help you ensure that your manager sees that you’ve done your research and are serious about the promotion process.

As a bonus pro tip, you will ideally want to find information that pertains to your field, geographical region, and company size, as this will help you set reasonable goals based on the market research most relevant to you.

3. Gather Your Thoughts

The last, but certainly not least, step to prepare a solid case is to gather your thoughts and organize them into an efficient outline. Not only will this help you stay on track during your promotion conversation with your manager, but it can also be a great resource to back up your request with the facts you’ve found in the previous steps. Plus, it never hurts to have talking points ready to go in case those ever-dreaded nerves kick in (which is totally normal!).

As Connor explains, “Bring examples and showcase your quantitative and qualitative impact. If you crushed a project and have great data to show it, bring that up! If you helped mentor a teammate or helped elevate your organization, show that! It always helps to bring tangible reasons when asking for a promotion.”

Making Your Case

The stage is set – now it’s your time to shine! You’ve done the research and reflection, and your chance to make your case is officially here. The thought of doing so can be exciting and nerve-wracking, so be sure to believe in your abilities – you’ll do excellent!

To begin making your case, we recommend scheduling a 1:1 meeting with your manager to discuss your plans. The key is not to catch them off guard, so be sure to give them a simple heads-up to ensure you are both on the same page regarding the purpose of the conversation. 

Once you have a chance to meet, the most important thing you can do is be honest. Share your reasoning, talk through your successes, plans for the future, and times you’ve gone above and beyond. Show your manager why they should consider your promotion request and advocate for your growth. And, once the time comes, back up your proposals with the research you’ve done on compensation and responsibility.

It’s important to remember that, in many cases, this is the first time your manager has heard of your promotion plans. Try to be understanding and accommodating to their questions, concerns, or timelines – and don’t go into the conversation expecting an immediate answer. Always show your appreciation, and be sure to paint the picture of your investment to the organization long-term. 

We know that this can be intimidating. Take a deep breath – you have what it takes to succeed, and we are rooting for you!

Handling A Denied Request

Handling a denied promotion request is never fun, and although it’s easier said than done, try not to get discouraged. Many factors can contribute to team changes within a company, and the rejected request may be due to factors that are entirely out of your control. 

If this is the case for you, we recommend having an honest conversation with your manager to dive deeper into the why. Why was your request denied? Can you negotiate other pieces of your role, like increased flexibility or paid time off? Are there additional steps you can take to improve your chances for a promotion in the future? Be sure to take detailed notes and follow up as needed. 

At the bottom line, a denied promotion request is discouraging, no doubt. If you are experiencing this, we empathize with you and know this is merely a chapter in your career journey. It certainly does not define you or your capabilities in the workplace.

Finding Outside Assistance

Exploring a promotion can be exciting and challenging, and Celarity is here to help you navigate the options available to further your career journey. Whether it be assistance with salary information, responsibilities, or even external career opportunities, our team would love to help. 

With over 31 years of experience assisting Marketing, Creative, and Digital professionals like you throughout their career journey, we are here to put your best interest first and help you land the opportunities that you are most passionate about. Reach out to us today!

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Celarity is an award-winning Staffing & Recruiting agency for Marketing, Creative & Digital talent with a mission: Creating happy careers with meaningful connections. For 30 years we have proudly connected 600+ companies with over 5,000 candidates.


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