Is it a Good Time to Ask for a Promotion?

Of course you want to grow in your career -- nobody wants to be doing the same job forever. But when it comes to taking that next step up the corporate ladder, timing is everything. Knowing when to broach the subject of a promotion is as important as documenting why you deserve one in the first place.

But don’t worry- you don’t need a crystal ball to know whether or not it’s a good time to broach this all-important subject. We interviewed PayScale’s Lead Data Scientist, Katie Bardaro, to identify what questions you should answer yourself before popping the question to the powers that be.

  • What’s your current market value? If you’re already earning more than your peers, it may be a sign that you’re ready to take on more responsibility. Make sure your Salary Report is up to date.
  • What’s happening in your industry? Check the PayScale Index. If your industry is growing, new, less experienced employees may be flocking there. Your experience may make you a natural candidate for a leadership or senior position.
  • What’s happening in your job category? Again, the PayScale Index can tell you if other people who have your type of job are seeing increased wages and growth. If that’s the case, your career should follow those trends.
  • When is your next annual review? If your company has regularly scheduled times of the year when raises and title changes happen, your chances for a promotion are increased if you ask before these decisions are made, not after.
  • Did you recently complete a large project or deliverable? If you just earned big kudos for a job well done, now is a perfect time to capitalize on your success.
  • Are you already a leader? You can show your leadership potential without the official title. Tell your boss that you want the opportunity to lead groups or projects to flex your leadership muscle.
  • Are you managing up? Putting in face time and making sure you are on your boss’s radar is vital if you want to be first in line for a promotion.
  • Has your skill set grown? If you’ve recently completed additional certification training or gotten a new degree, make sure that management knows that you want to put these new skills to use.
  • Is your employer financially healthy? If you notice a trend of pay raises, bonuses and extra-generous Beer Fridays, then you’re more likely to get the green light on your promotion request. But if bonuses are nowhere to be found and there’s a hiring freeze in place, you may not be somewhere where your career will grow.

Do you see a pattern emerging in your answers? Take a few minutes to think through these questions before you start pursuing a promotion and you’ll have a better idea whether you’re on a solid path to the corner office, or just engaged in a wild goose chase.

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