27 September 2023

Can’t score that promotion? Here’s why

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Natalie Fikes says doing consistently good work is not always a certain key to promotion. She suggests five reasons why you may be getting passed over time after time.

You’ve been at your organisation for years; you’re exceeding your goals and are ready to move up. The only problem is, you keep getting overlooked for promotions.

You have all of the qualifications (or so you think), but you just can’t seem to advance in your career.

Here are five reasons why you aren’t getting promoted and tips to prepare for your next opportunity.

Your reputation precedes you: There is a huge difference between being cordial with your co-workers and being friends with everyone.

You may have gotten too close to too many people so management believes promoting you may cause a conflict of interest.

Although it is important to have healthy working relationships, your goal should always be to stand out as a leader.

You want to be the ‘go to person’ because you are a subject matter expert, not the ‘go out with’ person because you are fun to be around.

You can repair your reputation by slowing down on the number of cook-outs you attend and not commenting on everyone’s social media posts.

Instead, find more ways to be helpful around the office and volunteer for an additional project to keep yourself productive.

You can’t handle rejection: Most people don’t get promoted when they want to.

That’s why it is extremely important that you take the disappointment of not being selected as an opportunity to ask questions, work on advancing your skill set, while positioning yourself for the next opportunity.

Talking badly about the hiring manager or the person who received the promotion will only harm your chances for the next time.

Don’t even think about feeding into office chatter suggesting you should have received the promotion.

Though it may sting a bit, it is best to support the decision and continue to exceed expectations.

Go to the hiring manager and thank them for the opportunity to interview.

Express your desire for future consideration and ask if there is anything they would suggest you work on until another opportunity presents itself.

You haven’t communicated your interests: In most cases you’re not even on the radar if your boss doesn’t know what your career interests are.

It is true, most managers have a candidate in mind when posting a position. There isn’t any reason why that person can’t be you.

Take the time to communicate your desires for advancement and find out what expectations your boss has of you to ensure a positive recommendation.

Let everyone in the office know what position you are aiming for.

You never know who knows someone that can put a good word in for you, or at least keep you updated on what positions may be coming available.

Stop by and visit other areas so they know your interests as well.

You apply for everything: One day you’re applying to be a senior executive, the next you want to be the janitor — or that’s how it seems.

Managers aren’t going to take your request seriously if you look like you just want to leave the team.

Speak with human resources to map out your best career path.

What do you want to accomplish professionally? Don’t apply for another position until you have the answer to that question.

Once you get clear, you’ll know where you’re going and you’ll know what you need to do to get there.

You have character issues: No one wants to work for, or be on the same level, as someone they don’t enjoy being around.

Your technical abilities alone will never get you to the next level if people just don’t like working with you.

Not only are you sabotaging your opportunities for advancement, you are missing out on your earning potential.

The way you are interacting with others is costing you. Character is currency.

Take courses to develop your soft skills, invest in coaching, and read self-development books.

* Natalie Fikes is the founder of Code Next Generation, a community organisation that transitions youth to adulthood by equipping them to discover, release and maximise their potential.

This article first appeared on Natalie’s blogsite.

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