I get it. Many of you are wondering why the promotion went to the other guy instead of you. Some of you may even have rationalized this with thoughts like, “Well, she’s the bosses favourite,” or “I wasn’t really ready for the promotion.” You can probably come up with a million more reasons why this occurred. Or you can channel your energy into making sure the next promotion goes to you. If you decide on the latter, here’s where to begin.
Shift your mindset. I know personally what it feels like to be passed over for a promotion. If you’re like me, you’re confirming with your colleagues why indeed you should have been the one promoted. You need to stop that, as this will not change the outcome. You’d be better served taking an honest look as to why this happened. You’ll then be able to establish a plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Those who are willing to take a closer look as to how others view them in the workplace are more apt to successfully position themselves for the next promotion than those who chalk it up to bad luck. This means you have to be open to the possibility that you have some work ahead of you. Ask your boss for advice or engage the services of a coach, who can gather feedback from those above, below and around you.
Work on your qualifications. I can’t tell you how many times people write to me complaining that they’ve been passed over for a promotion because they lack the written qualifications for a particular job. When I suggest they work towards meeting these qualifications, I never hear from them again.
Look, I don’t make the rules. Your employer does. This means that if a particular promotion is dependent on having some sort of certification or degree, then that’s what you’ll need to get to the next level. Keep in mind that some organizations will overlook these requirements, especially if an employee is currently working towards achieving these requirements. Which brings me to my next point.
Toot your own horn to be heard in a sea of cubicles. Let’s say you are currently pursuing more education. However, your boss has no idea this is going on or may have forgotten. It’s your job to remind her of all the great things you are doing. In my book, Suddenly in Charge, I share with my readers how to strategically brag. Included, is an exercise that will help to answer the age old question, “What could I possibly have to brag about?”
Now before you start posting comments regarding how wrong I am about the need to self-promote, I’ll ask you to consider the following question. How often has someone, who wasn’t necessarily the most qualified, received a promotion over those who appeared to be most qualified?
Your boss isn’t a mind reader and has no idea of the work you do outside of work, nor does she have a full record of your accomplishments from previous jobs. This is where you come in. You need to weave your accomplishments into the conversation and help her connect the dots.
Invest in yourself. Contrary to popular belief, career development is not something that an organization owes you. It’s something you owe yourself. Take advantage of whatever opportunities come your way to develop your skills. For example, if you’re invited to attend a local industry meeting, by all means, go. Even if this means you’ll have to pay for your own dinner. This a small investment in your future, which could pay off in spades. After all, if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, why should someone else?
Order a subscription to a business publication, such as the Wall Street Journal, so that you can have conversations that are more peer-like with those above you. This will help to differentiate you from your current peer group, which most likely is reading the local paper.
Invest in your wardrobe. I’m sure you’ve heard that you should dress for the position you want. This still holds true, in spite of the photos you see coming out of Silicon Valley, where everyone appears to be wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. You don’t have to go crazy and donate your entire wardrobe to Goodwill. Start small by investing in a few good jackets and go from there.
If you want to be promoted by year-end, then you’re going to need to take immediate action to ensure your dream becomes a reality. Otherwise, you and I will be having this same conversation come next Month.
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