Promotions are essential to rising in your career. A promotion, after all, allows you to accelerate your impact in your industry of choice and often comes with a pay raise as well.
But here is the thing. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. In a 2015 PayScale survey, 57 percent of people don’t ask for raises, and women are less likely to ask for raises than men. So we have to learn to ask. But we can’t just go in with a demand and expect to get what we want. It benefits you to have a strategy in place so that you are guaranteed a yes.
Here’s what I learned to do. Six months into any job I had, I would meet with my supervisor and let them know that in the future, I would love to be considered for a promotion or a raise. And then I would ask them a targeted question: What is your expectation for what I need to accomplish and what milestones do I need to hit, in order to receive a promotion?
Make it difficult for them to say no
Encourage their answer to be as concrete as possible. What would they like to see from you in the next six months in order to warrant a promotion? When you get details, you can walk out of that room knowing exactly what you need to accomplish. Then, when you go back in for your performance review, you’ve already hit those benchmarks or goals. It makes them much more likely to say yes to a promotion; you’ve hit the target already. How could they say no? Make it difficult for them to say no.
It may seem crazy to begin asking about such things just six months into a job. But I am a firm believer that you cannot just wait for a promotion to come to you. Your supervisors may be focused on their own careers and meeting their own goals. They may not be actively looking to make sure you accomplish yours. You cannot leave promotions and raises to chance. You must be proactive about them. It’s important to be in charge of your own destiny. Having your future in your own hands is a position you should always strive to put yourself in. Why wait around for someone else’s whim to kick in? Why not enhance your chances by communicating your aim and receiving someone’s expectations? This in turn deepens and strengthens your working relationship, as they’ll be rooting for you, while also helping you accomplish your goals quicker. It’s all about communication and transparency.
Write down three opening lines
This is so much bigger than asking for a raise or a promotion. Speaking up is a global issue that women face. When you don’t ask for what you want, you don’t give yourself the chance to receive it. If there is something that you wish for, voice it. Voice your hopes and opinions. Think of the women who stood up for their right to vote or right to drive in their respective countries, risking their lives to do so. It took years, and some arrests, and a lot of pain to accomplish their goal. But they are now finally getting the right to do so.
Today is the day you set yourself up for promotion. Write down these three opening lines on a notecard as thought-starters:
• Thank you, [name], for taking the time to see me today. I would love to discuss with you my future at the company, and hear your thoughts. I love working here and working for you, and it would be wonderful to collaborate with you on my path ahead.
• What is your expectation for what I need to accomplish and what milestones I need to hit overall, in order to receive a promotion?
• What would you specifically like to see from me in the next one month, three months, six months, in order to warrant a promotion six months from now?
Ask your manager if you can set a time today to talk. Then, walk in with confidence, close the door, and go for it. You can do this!
This article is an edited excerpt from “You Are A Mogul,” coming out on September 4, 2018, by Simon & Schuster.