A promotion request letter can be a critical ingredient in obtaining the higher title that you’ve worked hard to earn. If the letter is written well and timed appropriately, it can be the catalyst you need to have a meaningful conversation with your boss about your upward trajectory in the company.
We’ll share the basics of how to write a letter to request a promotion and share a sample template you can use when composing your own.
What is a promotion request letter?
A letter requesting a promotion is sent or emailed to one or more managers expressing an employee’s belief that he or she has earned the opportunity for a promotion. It makes the case for why they deserve a bump in title and responsibilities, giving specific examples of their strong contributions to the company.
A promotion request letter isn’t a standalone tool. Instead, it should be accompanied by a one-on-one meeting with your boss to talk through the items you’ve outlined and discuss the role you’re looking to move into.
Why you should use a letter
A letter makes your intentions known in a straightforward way. It shows you’re a go-getter who’s interested in upward advancement in the company, which is an important quality in the eyes of management.
Writing a letter to request a promotion can help put you on management’s radar. You can’t always expect that higher-ups will be aware of the contributions you’re making, especially if a person is not your direct manager. So, putting those accomplishments down in writing is a good way to make sure they’re recognized.
When you throw your hat in the ring for a promotion, you’re doing your company a favor. Having strong internal candidates helps them to promote from within, which most organizations prefer to hiring from the outside.
Regardless of the outcome, a promotion request letter can open a conversation about broader opportunities available to you, like training or mentorship programs, that can help advance your career.
The best time(s) to make a request
When you can make a strong argument
The big question to consider when asking for a promotion is, have you earned it? Before you decide to write the letter, ensure that you can make a strong case for your positive contributions. If you’ve just successfully completed a big project or had a glowing performance review, it might signal that now is the right time.
When it makes sense for the company
If the company is shrinking its management team or keeping roles vacant when people leave, it’s probably not the best time to broach the topic of a promotion. Also, there has to be a promotion available to give. So, if the employee above you in the hierarchy isn’t going anywhere, you might need to wait it out, consider switching departments or come up with a creative idea for a position that could be created for you.
After you’ve floated the idea to your supervisor
Your promotion request shouldn’t seem out of the blue to your manager. Ideally, you will have already had a conversation or two about your career goals and where they see you headed within the company. This gives your letter the best chance for success.
What to include
Background on your time with the company
Begin with an overview of how long you’ve been in your position and some basics on your role.
The position you’re seeking
If there’s a specific role that’s open or will be soon, state that you’d like to be considered for it.
Specific examples of the impact you’ve made
Quantify your achievements in terms of financial gains, productivity increases or whatever benchmark is meaningful for your company.
Qualities that would serve you in a higher role
Explain how the skills you’ve acquired in your current position would translate well in a promotion.
Some companies still require internal candidates to go through a formal process before being promoted, so find out if an application is required before sending your letter.
A referral from a trustworthy source
Your letter will be even stronger if it’s accompanied by an endorsement from someone with clout in the company.
Sample request letter
By outlining your capabilities and giving specific examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond in a promotion request letter, you’ll have a better shot of landing the additional responsibility and higher title you’ve been working toward.