What Does It Take to Get That Promotion?

By Terri Klass, CPCC, MBA, Terri Klass Consulting – March 27, 2024
What Does It Take to Get That Promotion?

Consider this scenario: You’ve been working extremely hard for the past couple of years, putting in long hours with your team, doing everything that was expected of you, executing high-level deliverables and meeting deadlines. You now feel ready for more responsibility. You deserve to move to the next level at your company. It seems to be the right time to start lobbying for your next promotion. Just hold on a moment. Before jumping right in to ask your boss for a promotion, CPAs need to ask themselves some critical questions and take impactful steps to make it a reality.

Consider these six strategies to prepare for a promotion:

  1. Organize your past accomplishments, assignments and reviews. What does your work history look like? Every leader, regardless of their level, needs to keep a complete folder of their engagements, projects and annual performance reviews. If you’re asked about your roles, experiences and proudest achievements, what would your career narrative be? Creating your professional story is essential to being promoted.
  2. Be honest about your current skills and experiences. Be able to identify the strong technical and people skills that you have acquired throughout your time with the company. Can you clearly state what you learned and describe the expertise you gained in your different engagements and projects? This is also a great process for helping you to acknowledge where you still need to grow. No one can be highly skilled at everything, so be truthful. Maybe you could be a more effective communicator. Perhaps you need some guidance in time management. Just be authentic.
  3. Identify why you’re ready. A great way to begin the conversation with your boss about a promotion is to have an irresistible presentation of how ready you are for this next step. What makes you the ideal candidate for this promotion? What specifically will you bring to this new position based on all of your past successes? Why are you the right choice for the company? Make your case why this is the perfect time for your promotion for both you and your employer. Remember, promotions benefit the organization when CPAs bring new energy, capabilities and commitment.
  4. Be clear about expectations and responsibilities of the promotion. Although you may be eager to be promoted, it is very important to have clarity regarding the responsibilities of the new role. Ask your supervisor: What different responsibilities and skills will be expected in this promotion? Where do you feel I may have skill gaps where I’ll need training?
  5. Lean on your support network. When preparing for a promotion, it is very helpful to call upon your colleagues, past bosses, friends and family to be sounding boards for your pitch. Identify an advocate in your organization or on your team. They know you well and can often suggest areas to focus on in asking for this next growth opportunity. They also can challenge you to be more persuasive in the way you share your experiences and expertise. Don’t keep it a secret that you are ready to ask for that promotion.
  6. Let your leadership shine. Finally, when you have that important face-to-face meeting asking for a promotion, make sure your words and body language match up. Ask yourself how you want to be seen and heard in this conversation. What’s the message you want to get across? How will your body support that powerful message? Use solid eye contact, speak at a good volume and pace, smile, choose words that are comfortable for you and hand gestures that are firm. There is a body stature called “The Power Pose” that each of us possesses. Looking at your boss with confidence and being respectful goes a long way in how others see you as a leader. And don’t forget to be an active listener. Never become defensive but be curious and stay open-minded.

You’ve got this!

Terri Klass

Terri Klass, CPCC, is a certified executive and leadership coach who helps leaders and teams gain clarity, see possibilities, build confidence and create strategies to move forward that align with their values and vision.