Want a Promotion? Here's What You Need to Do

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You've worked hard, put in your time, and outperformed your peers. Yet that coveted promotion still seems to elude you. Waiting on a promotion can be frustrating, especially if you strongly feel you deserve one. But here are a few things you can do to increase your chances.

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1. Document your accomplishments

If your manager is the busy type who's constantly on the go, he or she may fail to pick up on your otherwise impressive achievements. That's why it's important to keep a log of your work-related accomplishments, whether it's the fact that you increased sales numbers or implemented a more efficient process for logging customer orders.

While maintaining this sort of list might seem petty, it's actually a good way for you to track your own victories so you don't forget them either. For example, if you complete a major project in July, you might forget about the smaller yet significant project you wrapped up back in April. But that may be something you want to bring to your manager's attention as well.

2. Take charge

A good way to increase your likelihood of getting promoted is to come off as a natural leader. Managers like to see employees step up to the plate and go above and beyond, so the next time a new project comes up or a challenge arises, be the one to handle it. If you prove to your boss that you're not afraid to embrace new tasks and take charge, you're more likely to land on that promotion list.

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3. Present a strong case

Sometimes, the best way to snag a promotion is to come out and ask for one. And if you're going to go that route, you'll need to come in prepared.

First, schedule a meeting with your superior at a time when you're both unlikely to get distracted. For example, avoid the 4:30 p.m. time slot, because if your discussion runs over, your boss may start itching to go home.

Next, put together a well-thought-out presentation on why you deserve a promotion. Include the aforementioned accomplishments and as much hard data as you can. Don't make it fancy, though -- just present a few key facts in brief bullet points. This way, you'll be more likely to stay on point during your discussion, and less likely to forget key information you wanted to bring up.

During that conversation, make an effort to keep things professional, not emotional. You may be upset that you haven't yet been offered a promotion, but try not to let your boss see that. Furthermore, focus on the value you've brought to your company, as opposed to the amount of time you've spent as an employee. The fact that you've been on the job for two years may not sway your boss, but landing five key accounts in the past six months is a different story.

4. Be patient

Some companies have strict policies in place for offering promotions. Others purposely implement structures where upper-management positions are limited in number. If you're itching for a promotion but your company isn't ready, but you're enjoying your work and are gaining more responsibilities over time, don't despair quite yet. If anything, ask your manager for a timeline as to when you might be eligible for a promotion. This way, you'll have a specific goal to work toward.

One final thing: There's a difference between a promotion and a raise, so don't forget which one you're asking for. The two don't always go hand in hand, and while it's natural to want both, it helps to focus on each specific goal at a time. With any luck, you'll soon be awarded not only a new title but a nice little pay increase to boot.

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