Moving Up During A Recession

Chances are, your workplace has downsized during the current recession. Those left standing have a larger work load and more responsibilities. Is now the time for a promotion? Stephanie AuWerter, Contributing Editor for, weighs in.

The economy is starting to show signs of life again, and companies that have made it through are looking to hang on to their top talent. "Right now is actually not such a bad time to ask for a promotion. In fact, it could be a good time," says AuWerter.

To set yourself apart from the pack, AuWerter suggests stepping up your game. Instead of being upset that you have extra responsibilities, look to take on new tasks and keep a positive attitude. Bosses like team players; ask what you can do to help, and do it with a smile.

Keep in mind, too, that timing is everything. "The right time to ask for a promotion is after you've achieved a major goal," says AuWerter. "Maybe you landed a big new account for your firm or you met your sales goals, despite having a smaller staff." When you ask for a promotion, go prepared with a list of all the positive things you've done for your company, especially if it's helped their bottom line.

Be sure to leave out personal reasons, though. "You may feel like you are entitled to a promotion because your spouse lost his job or because you can't make your mortgage payments. Or maybe you feel that it's about time, but that is not a reason to get a promotion," says AuWerter. Promotions are about your on-the-job performance, not your personal life or feelings.

If you do get a promotion, though, it may not include the big raise you were looking for. "Many folks who do get promoted this year are going to get raises of 2% or less. But, a promotion... is a great resume builder and it's going to open doors further down the line," says AuWerter.

In the end, the worst your boss can tell you is "no." Don't be discouraged. Ask where you can improve to increase your chances of being promoted in the future, and follow up periodically to see how you're progressing. Some companies aren't even allowed to promote people right now, so if your boss says they'd like to promote you but can't, ask for other perks instead. You may be able to negotiate a few more vacation days or the ability to work from home from time to time. "Those things really do add up to basically a promotion in some respects in terms of your lifestyle," says AuWerter.

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By Erin Petrun