Getting A Promotion In The Tech Industry

You’ve been at your company for a couple of years now and have yet to be promoted.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  At some point most people start wondering when they are due for a raise.  Or, they happen to see job postings that require their experience but pay 20%-30% more.  So, are you wondering how to get a promotion?  This article can help explain some tips.

get promoted in tech

An article by Forbes  states that employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less.

Unfortunately, when you stay in the same position you aren’t usually going to be given more than the standard cost of living increase.  Although the standard raise is typically only 3%, there are strategies that can help you get more or even get a better title.  Getting promoted is the key to get more money.  Not just by getting a raise.  Getting a promotion isn’t going to magically happen in the Tech industry.  You’re going to have to ask.

Keep in mind, getting a promotion isn’t something that is just going to be “handed” to you.   You need to prove that you’re worth it.  Most companies don’t choose to reward you on their own just for being a hard worker.  Trust me, I know this first hand.  You’re going to have to do some research and work for it.  There are strategies that will best help you get the position, title, and salary you want.

Here are some tips on how you can be strategic to get a promotion.

Be Aggressive

A promotion isn’t just going to be awarded to the employees who have been there the longest.  At least, usually it isn’t.  You have to prove that you both want and deserve one.  Ivy Exec has an interesting article on the differences between people who get promoted and those who are stuck.

I recommend going out of your way to pick up additional job responsibilities.  Ask your team members if there’s anything you can do to help.  For example, if you’re currently responsible for managing three different reports, however, your co-worker manages twenty reports then ask if you can take some from him.

Be proactive and finish projects early.  Stay late to get work done and arrive early.  The more imitative you take to be great at your job, the more you will be noticed by your team and manager.

Don’t Expect A Promotion Too Early On

How long have you been working for your company?  If the answer is less than six months, don’t even bother asking for a raise.  You should work for your company for at least close to a year before approaching your manager for a raise.  I know that if I had a newbie approach me for a promotion who had only worked for us for several months, I would think it was a joke.

promoted in tech industy

Six or seven months on the job isn’t usually long enough to learn everything.  In addition, it’s not long enough for you to prove yourself as an employee.  Wait until your nine- or ten-month mark when your yearly review is approaching, then work on making your case for a promotion.  You don’t want your manager thinking you’re too aggressive.  Then he’ll start to see you as competition.  That will impact your chances of getting a promotion.

Prove That You’ve Taken On Additional Responsibilities

Maybe your job duties have changed since the time you were hired or last promoted.  Do you have additional tasks that you’re responsible for?  Ideally, you should try to address a raise the moment that you are given additional responsibilities, but sometimes it’s not always so easy.  Prove that you’re not in the same place that you started in.

I recommend that you create a list of your current responsibilities.  Create another list with what your responsibilities were when you first started.  Next, combine the two lists and keep it as back-up to show your manager.  This will be very helpful to present when you’re asking for a promotion.  Create an outline that lists all of your achievements from the past year as well as how you hold value to the company.

I also recommend including any personal achievements you’ve had within the past year.  This could be things that you’ve done to benefit your team or even the company as a whole.  For example, at my last company I had created an extension to the CRM so the salespeople could keep track of clients and how often they reached out to them.  This benefited the company and I was able to use this achievement as a factor when I was negotiating a promotion later in the year.

Show That You Add Value To The Company

Another great tip to getting a promotion is proving that you add value to the company.  Have you made extra money for the company since you started or within the past year?  Have you landed them any new clients through your own referrals?  Make sure that is known.  If any of these types of examples are true for you, then you can make your case by showing that you’re worth more than the amount of money you’re asking for.  By showing that you’re valuable, you’ll more likely to get a promotion.


Research The Average Salary For Your Position

Having salary information to provide your manager with is a powerful factor when negotiating a promotion.  You can find salary information for your job title on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.  I recommend researching the average salary for the position your in as well as the title your going for.  Next, I would create a proposal for why you think you deserve the median of the two salaries.  If you feel like you can try and negotiate even higher, then go for it.

Although the “standard” raise is typically only 3% or so, if you’re asking for a promotion that’s a different situation.  A promotion with a new title could be considered a different position. Therefore, your manager might be able to propose a budget review for the new position.   This looks even better on a resume.

Avoid Getting Too Personal

Your manager isn’t going to care that you need more money to plan your wedding or that you just had a kid.  Using these types of reasons in your argument to get a raise is only going to make you look unprofessional.  My advice is to keep it professional and to the point.  Don’t disclose anything that you wouldn’t say during an interview.  Act like your negotiating your salary the same way you would if you were just getting a job.

Trust me, getting too personal will only have your manager look down on you.  It will discredit your situation.  Instead of you argument being focused on why you deserve a raise it could muddy the waters and your managers views.  They could think your asking because you simply want a raise.

You want to prove that you’re in the right state of mind by not getting too personal.  Why?  So that your manager doesn’t take advantage of you by giving you a position that’s only a lateral move without a pay increase.  Keep things professional and keep your points on topic and about work.

Schedule A One-On-One With Your Manager

Don’t put off scheduling a meeting with your manager.  If you are asking for a promotion, you should do so as soon as possible.  Don’t wait.  Let them know that you’re a good fit for a new position and why.  This is important because if there is anything that your manager feels is lacking in order for you to get a promotion, it can be addressed before it’s too late.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t wait to schedule a meeting with your manager for a promotion:

  • They may already be drafting your review and have a raise set
  • The raise/new rate may have already been approved by HR and locked down
  • The budget proposal deadline may have closed – a lot of budgets are done around the holidays

Make sure that you make your goals known and your manager knows you are targeting a promotion.   In fact, you should be as up-front about it as possible.  I recommend creating a plan with your manager. Set measurable goals that are clear with a set deadline.  Think about it – if you have goals set in place and you achieve them, then you make a better case for yourself to get a promotion.  Make it known that getting a promotion is important to you.

If All Fails – Look Elsewhere

If you’re not successful in getting a raise or promotion, your best bet is probably to look elsewhere.  Why?  Nobody should continue to work for a company where they feel unappreciated or underpaid.  Don’t let your technical skills go to waste.  You tried your best and can do better by moving on.

Start putting out feelers elsewhere.  When I didn’t get the raise that I had hoped, I immediately started applying to other positions.  Heck, I even applied to 10 jobs each day.  In addition, I reached out to multiple tech recruiters.  Soon enough, within a matter of a week or two Teksystems got me a job with the salary I was asking for.

Once you start your job-hunt, I would make it clear what your salary requirements are.  In fact, I suggest even stating this prior to an in-person interview.  Why?  Because you don’t want to waste losing PTO days to take off for a job that pays less than what you’re making now.  I made this mistake myself and regret it.  Make sure you research salary negotiation tactics and freshen up on your interview skills to get the highest salary by clicking here.

I don’t recommend letting your employer know that you will be looking elsewhere.  This could lead to them firing you.  Instead, be as professional as possible and apply elsewhere on the sly.  Threatening to quit because you aren’t given the promotion or raise that you want will only land you without a job or references.  I would never do that.  Try to secure another offer first.  Then let your manager know.  Chances are your current company may even counter.

Don’t Forget To Update Your Resume 

I’ve always made a point to update my resume before even approaching my manager about a raise.  Why?  I want to be prepared if I’m let down.  If you aren’t given the raise or promotion you want, do you really want to spend time updating your resume after you’re given the bad news?  Or, would you rather be able to start applying to other companies right away?  I sure know that’s why I would want to do.

At the end of the day, any raise or promotion you are awarded usually don’t equal out to as much as you would get going somewhere else.  Therefore, it’s always good to be a step ahead of the game and prepare.  If you need help on writing your resume, make sure to check out my article on how to write a great technical resume.

If your job title at your current company doesn’t quite “match” your real responsibilities, then I recommend tweaking it on your resume.  No, I’m not suggesting that you straight up lie.  I’m saying to add a second more “accurate” job title in parenthesis next to your official title.  Trust me, I’ve done this and have never been questioned.

Getting A Promotion Doesn’t Need To Be Hard

You won’t always be successful in getting a promotion and sometimes that’s okay.  If you’re already happy where you are at and have other benefits, maybe it’s not worth leaving right away.  Maybe there are other benefits and perks you currently receive that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.  For example, I get to work remote a couple of days per week.  Other positions might not offer that.  On the other hand, maybe you’re already getting paid close to the top of your job bracket.

Overall, if you try to follow the strategies above you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a promotion.