Asking for a promotion is an act that scares people so much so that many people have never broached the subject at all! Think about the opportunities you might have missed by never asking for a promotion. So, why don’t we?

Humans have an instinctive fear of being rejected. This fear can drive much of our behavior without us even realizing it. It was the reason why you were super nervous when you were opening up your college acceptance letter. It’s why you suddenly were breathless the second you realized that the company of your dreams was calling you on your phone. Fear of rejection can be irrational, silly, and absolutely real. And one of the times it can crop up is when you want to ask for a promotion at work.

Asking for a promotion is one of the most stressful questions you can pose to your boss. Just thinking about it can make some people’s anxiety shoot through the roof. That’s totally understandable, but if you want to advance in your career, you are going to have to figure out a way to push past this anxiety and ask the question. Here are a few tips on how:

Pick the Right Time

In promotions and comedy, timing is everything.

Although there will never be an ideal time to ask for a promotion, there are definitely times when you don’t want to ask for one! If you are in the middle of a huge project and everyone at work is stressed out, this isn’t an ideal time.

You should always be on top of what is happening at the office. Has someone in a higher-level position left? Are things in your department currently in flux? Times of change are a great time to ask for a promotion! Make sure you prepare a speech on how you could help solve the department’s issues and normalize things for the company.

Of course, the most natural time to ask for a promotion would be during your annual performance review. This is a great time to talk with your boss about your performance at the company and how they see as your future there.

When the time is right, make an appointment with your boss. You need to be sure that 30 minutes is set aside for you. If asked, tell him/her you have some ideas for improving processes or ways to streamline the work being done.

Be Prepared

This seems obvious, but it’s amazing how many people walk into the boss’ office to ask for a promotion without doing their homework.

You need to know everything about the job that you want. Know exactly what the responsibilities are and what will be expected of you. If you want the job, you have to know precisely what the job entails.

Make a detailed list of all of your accomplishments at your company, along with the skills you’ve developed there. You need to point out how valuable you have been to the company and how your skills would make you the perfect person for a new, higher position.

Now that you have showcased your performance so far and how well qualified you are for this new position, make sure you explain how you could be of even more use to the company in the new position.

Finally, make sure you practice. This might feel a little silly, but it can drastically boost your confidence. Ask one of your friends or family members to roleplay the interview with you. That way, they can throw you curveballs to see how you will react, just like your boss might do in the real meeting. It will also help you to stay within the time you set for your meeting.

Be Ready to Negotiate

Salary negotiation is a place where most everyone feels underprepared and outgunned. After all, the company is the one with the checkbook and you’re the one asking for money. The prospect of having to negotiate your compensation can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety, even if you’ve already gotten the promotion!

Make sure that you have done your research about the average compensation for the position you are asking for, both in and out of your current company. Before negotiations, ask yourself questions like, what do you really think you are worth? Don’t sell yourself short! Don’t lowball your first offer, because they might come back with something even lower. Instead, shoot for the moon. They might not agree to it, but it might get you a higher salary than you would receive otherwise.

Feedback & Follow Up

The most likely scenario is that your boss will ask for time to consider your suggestion. In that case, thank him/ her for the time and say you’ll check back in after a few days.

Let’s say that your boss tells you that they’re sorry, but they cannot promote you at this time. All is not lost! This is a great time to ask them if they have any feedback or suggestions so, if an opportunity presents itself in the future, that you will be in a strong position to take it.

Follow up goes hand-in-hand with asking for feedback. You can’t count on your boss to remember your conversation in a few months and suddenly offer you a promotion. You need to be sure to follow up on the meeting, just like you would any other. It might have been merely that there wasn’t an opening in the organization for you at that moment, so check back in a few months. Take their feedback to heart, work hard on it, and check back to see if they have noticed a difference in your output.

Asking for a promotion can be one of the most stressful things you can do at your job, but it’s something that you have to go through if you wish to advance. Golden opportunities are rare, so you need to make your own opportunities. Remember, it isn’t the end of the world if you ask for a promotion and you don’t get it. No one is going to be angry with you, or think, “The nerve of that person!” Companies like to know that their employees are looking to take on new responsibilities and challenges. So, if you don’t receive a positive response, don’t take that “no” as forever. Just take it as, “not right now.”

If you think you’re ready for a new position, Spectra360 might be able to help. Check out our https://spectra360jobs.com for hundreds of open jobs at some of the nation’s best employers.