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How to Apply for a Promotion at Work

Updated on May 8, 2014

What's The Difference Between Applying for a Promotion and a Regular Job?

So, you have decided to go for a promotion at work so a CV isn’t important as they know all about you and have your original CV or resume. Wrong!

Applying for a promotion and climbing the internal career ladder should be treated with the same importance as applying for a new job and can be an even greater challenge in some instances.

Your boss may know how competent you are in your current position but he or she may not realise your potential so it is crucial you sell yourself into the role in such a way that just like a new role, the person who is reading your application can visualise you moving forwards, upwards and contributing to the success of the organisation more than any other candidate.

Highlighting Your Achievements

Although you may have already added these on your current resume or CV, for a promotion your content should be adapted to clearly show any successes in your current position and where possible, back up any statements with numerical statistics.

Did you attend any training courses? What has been the outcome of these?

Have you developed within the role or perhaps have greater responsibility that when you first started?

Allow the Employer to see that you have grown during your tenure so far. Success breeds success.


Emphasising your loyalty can go a long way and is sure to be a consideration in the hiring process. Training a new Employee can be costly and time consuming so by showing that you are keen to stay and know some of the new role already could put you in a strong position. If you can show that you are already a good, solid performer then you could be half way there.



Loyalty is one thing but don’t forget to show how enthusiastic you are about working for the company. Let them know how much you enjoy working there. Don’t gush though! Keep it sincere and professional.

Cover Letter

Many Employees going for a promotion don’t bother with a cover letter but just as when applying for a new job, this is your chance to sell yourself. This is your shop window.

Give whoever is reading your resume or CV an insight into how you will fare in the new role and what qualities you can bring to the table.

You may like to consider putting this together in such a way that it is actually a job proposal. Show what actions you would take and what experience you already have to make them happen. Bullet points can help you here.

A word of caution though; Avoid stating anything that may be deemed derogatory to the person currently in the position no matter what their reasons are for leaving. You should come across as an asset to the company and not cocky!

Above And Beyond

Have there been any times when you have been proactive or shown entrepreneurial flair? What positive impact did this have?

Show where you can any times when you have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Don’t go daft though and look like you are a gullible workhorse.

State the Obvious

Yes, you read that right. Actually state the obvious. Never presume that your company knows all about you and your day to day tasks or abilities. Market yourself and shout loud!

Remember that if you are applying for a promotion, your current Manager may know all about you and how amazing you are but they are unlikely to be the ones reading your application. The chances are it will be the Human Resources department or your future Manager so make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Letters of Recommendation

Employee relations is a major part of any business so if you can include any letters of recommendation from colleagues then these will be looked upon favourably.

Have you collaborated on a task with different teams or departments?

Ensure any letters you choose to include have high, quality content and are not simply “I think Joe is fab and should get this job”. You know what I mean!

Tell Me Why

Don’t forget that before you apply for a promotion, you should as a courtesy; let your current Manager or Boss know your intentions. Be prepared to be asked why you are choosing to apply and aim to get him or her to support your application. You can bet your life that your current up line will be asked their opinion on both your performance in your current role and their feelings on your suitability for promotion.


And finally a word about shadowing. If you know there is a promotion opportunity in the future then it would show great initiative if you shadowed a colleague from that department to gain an insight into different operations and team moral.

Talk to your current Manager about your aspirations and gain their support before any promotion is on the table. That way you may get offered a secondment for example or if you are really fortunate, you might even be offered the position without the need to be interviewed.

Don’t be shy!

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