So you’re looking for change: how should you let it be known?

Have you been in the same job for several years and are beginning to find the routine tedious? It’s quite normal to want a change, either upward or horizontally. Here are 5 tips on sharing your ambitions with your boss.

Prepare in advance
There should be no question of presenting yourself with a request for a promotion without sound reasoning! You will have a much better chance of being listened to if you arrive armed with figures and evidence of your contribution to the company’s results: sales figures achieved, projects successfully completed, number of customers satisfied or other professional successes which demonstrate that you have the stature to take on more responsibility. Go back over your career within the company and, ideally, tap recent successes that have allowed the company to move forward.

Choose the right time
Is your company in the middle of downsizing, reorganizing to have fewer managers or going through financial difficulties? This is probably not the time to announce your desire to move up the company ladder. If, however, you know that the position you are aiming for is open and that the company is starting to look for someone, try your luck. If your project is not urgent, you could wait for a pre-scheduled interview with your manager to let him know your wishes. Another possibility – ask for a formal appointment to talk about your career. In any case, don’t mention it during a simple discussion at the coffee machine, since you risk taking the person you are talking to off guard. Also, arrange it so that the main interested person is the first to know – your superior should not learn about your ambition from colleagues that you have talked to about it first.

Put it the right way
Your superior should not feel cornered. Don’t come in saying “promote me or I’ll go and look elsewhere” or “the competition made me an offer, what better offer are you proposing?”! Rather say that your have been thinking about your responsibilities and would like to have some new challenges. If this is the case, remind that when you were hired you were told of the possibilities for development after a certain period, now passed. And be sure to specify that although you are expressing this desire, it’s because you like the company and hope to be able to stay there while holding a position that better suits your present and future needs and desires.

Talk about training
One of the arguments that could stand in your way relates to your current job – who will fill it when you have climbed the ladder? Immediately offering to take the time to train the person who will succeed you will multiply the chances that your request will be accepted. At the same time, specify that you are ready to be trained on any gaps – if you are missing one or two key skills to be effective in the job the you are interested in, your bosses will likely be prepared to give you the chance to prove your motivation and be willing to make the effort.

Know how to react to a refusal
Even with all these precautions, nothing says that your request will be accepted. If it isn’t, analyze the reasons for this refusal and react accordingly. Were you told that you could try again in six months, when the circumstances are more propitious? Or was it a firm and definite no? Were you offered an alternative? If the reasons were properly explained to you and seem to you to be legitimate, it may be worth waiting awhile before taking action. If, however, you think the opportunity will never present itself and you are not really happy with your current position, maybe it’s time to consider changing companies.

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