5 Reasons Why You Keep Getting Passed Up for Promotion
Does this sound familiar: after so many years in the company, you think you deserve to get that promotion… and then the boss gives the job to somebody else…don’t you just feel devastated? When it doesn’t happen, it’s like hitting your head on a brick wall. Getting passed up for promotion may not be entirely your fault; still, you have to check and make sure you’re not doing any career-killing slip-ups. Here are five reasons why you keep getting passed up for promotion and some suggestions on how to alter your chances the next time opportunity knocks.
1. You’re just doing your job; no more, no less. Every job provides opportunities to step things up as well as occasions to do tasks that may not necessarily be included in your job description. You don’t get promoted by just doing a minimal amount of work that’s limited to the tasks stated in your job description. Don’t be too sure that nobody’s watching you if you occasionally come in late, miss a deadline or two, or the first to hit the road at the end of an eight-hour workday. Don’t be a clock-watcher; take the initiative and volunteer for extra work even if it sometimes means you have to work longer hours. Asking for more work demonstrates your desire to help your department to reach its goals and targets; this will underscore your value to the company.
2. You’re not a people person. If you continually alienate yourself from the crowd and always find something to complain about someone, you’re not increasing your chances for career advancement. Potential leaders are people persons who know how to encourage and inspire others; motivate, collaborate with and persuade key players. Hone your interpersonal skills and enhance your leadership experience. These soft skills are just as important than any technical skills, if you’re aiming for higher positions. Senior level jobs are mostly administrative in nature, and excellent people management skills are an absolute must.
3. You’re not expanding your current base of knowledge and skills. You are sadly mistaken if you think that what you know now is enough to make it to the top and you don’t need to learn or acquire new knowledge and skills to get promoted. As technology and other work environment factors are rapidly changing, one of the best ways to get a promotion is to expand your skills and knowledge sets not only to perform your job well, but also to improve your marketability. If you want to stay in the game and be counted, you shouldn’t just keep ahead with the trends in your department, but also keep constant awareness of news and events outside your specialty.
4. You’re not ready for the next level. Promotion is about the capability to take on more responsibility and the ability embrace accountability. Good performance doesn’t spell automatic promotion. Ask yourself if you’ve demonstrated adequate competencies that are better than your peers. Do you know the full extent of the duties and added responsibilities of the new position? You may be required to manage a large team; do you display your readiness and capabilities for this? If you’re getting passed up, there may be something lacking. Talk to your boss (or anybody in the know) to give you a clear idea of what a higher level position actually involves.
5. Your timing is off. Harsh though it may be, the reality still stands: 90% of promotions depend on you being at the right place at the right time. Call it the luck of draw, if you want, but all elements should be there: the right position has to be available, you should be ready to take on the challenge and there has to be someone willing to fill your vacated position. If you’re anticipating a promotion, better train your replacement (subtly of course) and be ready to be flexible in negotiating salary issues, benefits or titles. Oh and try to curb your over-zealousness; be patient and don’t expect too much, too soon. You don’t really want the bosses to change their minds and get you passed up for promotion – again.
Watching somebody else climb the corporate ladder (instead of you doing so) can be quite demoralizing, but it doesn’t have to deter you from trying harder. It is vital that you understand why you didn’t get the promotion so you know what you can do differently when another opportunity presents itself. Don’t get passed up for promotion the next time a position becomes available; lay the groundwork now to increase your chances for career advancement.