Help me ask for a promotion!
November 30, 2005 1:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some sort of template for requesting a promotion at work.

It has been suggested to me that I submit a proposal to be promoted at work. The promotion would be to a newly created position, but one ranked below the one for which they're considering hiring outside the company. (In other words, I'm trying to both convince them that a mid-level position is a better option, and that I am the best person for that position.) I don't know what format to use or even where to begin.

I'm already doing the work of the mid-level position and have had great success. However, please be aware that putting in for the senior-level job is not a possibility. I want my proposal to be taken seriously (it's going right to the CEO) and I can't waste anyone's time by clamoring for an executive role.

One other thing -- this isn't about money at all. It's partly about wanting some more recognition of my efforts (through a better title) but also wanting more challenges and also feeling I can contribute more in a higher position. Just in case that affects anyone's answer. I'm not looking to make demands, more to inspire more confidence in my abilities and to better benefit the company in the long run.
posted by justonegirl to Work & Money (5 answers total)
First thought: Approaching this verbally, one-on-one, may be a better method than a written proposal. That depends on the size and culture of your company, of course.

Second thought: Can you identify one or two people at the middle management level who know your work and/or who you have impressed at some point in the past, who can advocate on your behalf? So much of this kind of thing has much more to do with who you know than with reason and logic, so it would help.

Third thought: Say just what you said above - it's a good set of arguments.
posted by matildaben at 1:15 PM on November 30, 2005

I haven't written a letter like this, but I write lots of other letters in my profession (I'm a lawyer). I don't think a template will help you much -- you're talking about a fairly specific matter that doesn't lend itself to genericizing into a "fill-in-the-blank" form. Furthermore, if you did just fill in the blanks, it would probably show, and suggest that maybe you're not the right person for the job anyway.

You didn't mention why your company should make this a mid-level position instead of hiring a senior-level person, but that's exactly what you need to explain to the CEO.

Just write a polite, short business letter explaining your understanding of the current structure, that s/he appears to be considering a senior level position, and why you think a mid-level structure would be better.

For example, talk about the work that needs to get done, how the senior person would need a hands-on subordinate to do the work anyway, and why the work doesn't really require a senior-level supervisor. Talk about how supervision fits better into the duties of somebody who's already working there -- the person who'd be your supervisor if you got the mid-level position.

Finally, talk about how long you've been there, a couple of your accomplishments, and describe how you've been doing some/all of the work of the mid-level position successfully already.

Close by asking the CEO to consider structuring the work and position as you suggest, and furthermore to consider assigning you to the position. I'd probably stay away from describing the assignment as a "promotion," and would definitely not talk about salary.
posted by spacewrench at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2005

I was in a similar position about three months ago and wrote a white paper on reorganizing the departmental structure, in which I happened to give myself a promotion, rather than a proposal about why I have earned a promotion. Like you, I had already been doing the mid-level work successfully but was officially at a lower level. I outlined the previous structure and spelled out the reasons for a change and the benefits the change would bring to the company (very important). I also included the new positions that would need to be created and/or upgraded and a brief summary of their responsibilities or, in the case where positions were eliminated, I explained where the responsibilities of those positions would end up. As an addendum, I included actual job descriptions of what those jobs used to be in the previous structure (obtained from my HR rep), and where applicable, wrote up descriptions for the new and/or upgraded positions based on the HR docs.

By doing that, I was able to show that I had already been doing much of what was outlined in the job for my boss who had recently left.

In summary, I indicated that a mid-level position should be created, and the two open upper-level positions should be consolidated into one due to the presence of the mid-level position. My lower level position would remain, but would be filled with someone who had those entry-level skills, not the mid-level skills that I possessed at that point.

I was able to not outright mention a promotion by proposing the creation of the new mid-level position and then advocating the hiring of a replacement for the lower level positon I was in, implicitly stating that I would move into the mid-level spot.

In the end, it worked out and I gained a lot of respect for having the foresight to develop a strategic direction for my department, rather than just say, "I've been working hard and deserve a promotion." I got the promotion and exact title I wanted since my company pretty much went with much of what was on the white paper, YAY!

If people are suggesting that you ask for a promotion, then chances are management is aware of your performance in some regard and may in fact recognize that you have earned it, without your having to bend over backwards to convince them of that fact.

Good luck!
posted by ml98tu at 1:53 PM on November 30, 2005

If this were my thread, I'd give ml98tu "best answer". Good stuff!
posted by matildaben at 3:03 PM on November 30, 2005

Thanks so much to all!
posted by justonegirl at 7:14 AM on December 1, 2005

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