You can still ask for a promotion during the pandemic — here's how

  • The pandemic has made life extremely challenging, especially for businesses, but that doesn't mean you should feel awkward about bringing up a promotion. 
  • Before you approach the conversation, build up your confidence, remember to keep a positive mindset, and prepare information about your work accomplishments and potential salary raises. 
  • Show not only how you're contributing to the company's revenue goals and bottom line, but also what you can do for the business in the future. 
  • Be sensitive about timing when you approach your boss, and carefully plan your conversation so that it's respectful and reflective. 
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Did you work your tail off in 2020?  If so, it might be time to ask for a promotion in 2021. Here's how to make it happen.

Asking for a promotion in the middle of the pandemic might feel like a career no-no, but there are numerous reasons why you may deserve (and can get) a promotion right now. Because if you're still employed, chances are you've been working harder than ever these last nine months. Here's a look at how you can propel your career, even during the pandemic.

"The pandemic is not here to give you an excuse to hide in your career," said Ashley Stahl, career expert with SoFi. "While it may feel awkward to bring up your growth during such an uncertain time, it's important to keep communication open with your employer about your career growth, coming from a place of curiosity of what it would take for you to get to your next level and add extraordinary value for them," she added.

Read more: You don't need 'one true calling' to be a major success. Here's how to make more money and a name for yourself by investing in multiple interests.

Believe it's possible

You don't get what you don't ask for, Lauren Kester, career coach says. "There is a lot of negative noise out there about how bad the job market is and how it may not be a good time for a job change. First step: Believe that getting a promotion is possible. It is," she said.

Kester explains that people are getting new jobs and promotions. However, in keeping with the trends of the "she-cession," the majority of the promotions are going to men.

Indeed, an August study by software company, Qualtrics and theBoardlist, found that 34% of men working remotely with children at home said they received a promotion, compared to 9% of women in the same boat. If more women believe that they deserve a boost, maybe the gap will narrow. Keeping it positive may be part of the solution. "When you start with a positive growth-oriented mindset, making 'the ask' will flow much more easily," said Kester.

Know — and quantify — your value

"Before you ask [for a promotion], do your homework," suggested human resources guru Laura Handrick. For instance, she recommends researching the salary ranges for your position in your geographic area for someone with similar experience.

Explain "the financial value you bring to the company," advised Kara Loewentheil, master certified coach and host of the podcast UnF*ck Your Brain. She suggests explaining how you are contributing to the business' revenue goals and bottom line. "Pandemic or not, this is the best way … to show up confident and negotiate clearly for what you want," said Loewentheil.

If you're in a profession where it is harder to quantify your financial contributions there are still things you can do to showcase your value. Keep a "log of your professional wins for a few weeks," suggested Akhila Satish, career coach and CEO of Meseekna. Satish recommends to have clear, measurable facts and proof points for why you deserve a raise.

Read more: An expert negotiator and professor at Columbia Law School offers the best strategy for negotiating a raise or promotion during a time of crisis

Present ideas that add value

An ideal conversation about a promotion is not only about what you have done, but what you can do for the company. Stahl suggests getting clear on ideas for future projects, action plans, and additional areas where you can help.

So get creative about new responsibilities you can take on which will add value. Anything from smaller ideas that take the weight off your boss, to bigger ideas that can boost the bottom line, will help strengthen your case.

Be sensitive about the timing

After you have mustered the belief and done your homework, the next step is to carefully plan your conversation. "Come from sensitivity when asking for this conversation, because no one wants to give a raise or increase in responsibility to someone who is too focused on themselves," said Stahl. "Remember, it's about what you can do for the company; not the other way around!" 

You also need to be, "smart and reflective of what is going on currently in your industry, as well as in your specific organization," said Loewentheil.  It's essential to add an, "observation about the timing being very sensitive right now," explained Ben Lamarch, a general manager with Lock Search Group. "If your company is struggling, be sure to mention how awkward it can be to ask for advice about getting a promotion when others have perhaps been laid off or forced into retirement. Whatever the situation is where you work, be sensitive to it and be upfront about it. Don't skirt the issue, but also don't miss an opportunity to see how the role you've played during this critical time may have proven your worth in a new way," he added.

Finally, after some practicing, "present your request respectfully with no whining or emotions," suggested Handrick.

So many people are working their tails off now to help their companies creatively navigate tough times. If you are one of them, research, plan, and have a conversation with your boss to land that well-deserved promotion.

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