Professional Development

3 Strategies for Getting a Promotion

Written by Peter Jones

You’ve made yourself indispensable. You’re everybody’s go-to worker bee. There’s no project too difficult, no task too daunting for you, no crisis you can’t fix!  The trouble is, you feel like you’re doing the work of three people, but only getting the credit for your position.

Even if there’s simply no room in the budget to give you a raise right now, it is possible to have your new responsibilities more accurately reflected in your job title. It’s not a silly thing to want your title to sum up what you do; this will make it much easier to represent yourself on your resume and on networking platforms like LinkedIn.

Here are three guidelines to steer you in your quest for a title bump.

1. Choose wisely

It’s tempting to choose a trendy title like “Bliss Doula” or “Marketing Ninja,” but kitschy names like this can actually hurt your career. Choose a title that, while not boring, accurately represents your responsibilities, experience, and skills, and then sex it up only as much as you can without appearing ridiculous. The trick is to broadcast to the professional world exactly how capable you are—not to win any self-branding contests.

2. Know your moment

There are good times and bad times to ask for a title bump—even one that’s totally deserved. If your extra work, the stuff you feel is “above and beyond,” could still reasonably fall under the clause in your job description that says “Other duties as required,” then chances are your boss or HR manager isn’t going to go for a title change. Wait until you have a really convincing argument. Document the scope of extra work you’re doing—particularly if you’ve taken over responsibilities from other positions.

3. Make your case

If you can show the extra weight you’re bearing, then you’ll have a much better time convincing the powers-that-be to give you that sexy title update—and the prestige and swagger that come with it, even if only in your head.

Go into the meeting prepared. Have a revised, written version of your job description that you can compare with the job description when you were hired. Compare your current duties to other positions within the company, or in the field. If you can prove you’re doing what the market recognizes as falling under a better title, any reasonable HR department will hear you out. Feel free to bring in research from GlassDoor or LinkedIn to help seal the deal.

Whether or not you succeed, if you’re really going above and beyond, it might be time to ask. And if your higher-ups aren’t willing to recognize and reward you for the work you’re actually doing, that’s always a good thing to know.

About the author

Peter Jones