Applying for a promotion can be intimidating. But if you want to move forward on your career path and increase your future employment prospects, promotions are part of the game. You will rarely have them handed to you, you actually have to get up your nerve and put yourself forward.

Are you ready to take that next step? Preparation is the most important thing in this process. Here some points to think about before you have that conversation with your manager. Points for consideration:

Understand your accomplishments.

Make a list of your achievements to use as talking points and highlight everything you’ve brought to your job. Doing well in your current position isn’t enough to build your case, have examples ready that prove you’ve gone beyond what was expected from you and demonstrate that you are ambitious and ready to take on more responsibility.

Identify your goal.

Determine the role you want to take on and know why you are ready for it. Gain some detailed knowledge of what the position entails and demonstrate how you fit in. Concrete examples always work best to highlight that you have the right skills and experience to get the job done. Think about presenting your promotion as a win-win, where your new responsibilities benefit your manager, the department and the organisation overall.

Do your research.

For you, a promotion won’t just be about a raise, so don’t start off by discussing numbers. But be prepared if the topic arises, know your market value and be ready to negotiate salary and other benefits.

Pick a good time.

The most common time to ask for a promotion is your performance review, it’s an opportunity for you and your manager to discuss your career progression. But also times of overall change in your team or organisation present a chance to ask yourself and your manager how your role should evolve as the business changes and what your future in the organisation looks like.

Set a meeting.

If you don’t have an annual review coming up, take some time to plan ahead before you ask for a meeting with your manager. Make it official and be clear from the start that you want to discuss your performance. Allow for enough time in your schedules and pick a fitting location. By giving advanced notice, your manager will have time to reflect and prepare for the conversation.

If all goes well, you’ll get the promotion you deserve. But if not, it isn’t necessarily the end of the conversation. Make sure you get feedback on steps you can take to gain the qualifications and experience to be considered for a promotion in future. This is a chance to work with your manager to build your skills and put a plan in place to show that you have the determination to lift your performance to the next level.

Asking for a promotion shows that you are looking to advance, which demonstrates initiative and ambition. And if it seems the possibility of promotion isn’t likely in your current working environment, you might need to ask yourself if it is time to take your talents elsewhere to build your career.

Don’t make any rushed or emotional decisions just because you didn’t get the promotion you expected, but also be honest with yourself so you don’t get stuck in a role with no opportunity. If you feel that you have a consistent and strong performance in your current role, that your work is no longer challenging you and that you are ready for more responsibilities, then it's time to look for that new opportunity.