Avoid Getting Passed Over For Promotions

Find out how to get promoted at work

There are many reasons that you might not get that big promotion at work, but uncovering what the real reason is can help steer your career in the right direction. Whether it's because of a perceived inability for you to do the job, or a lack of confidence, there are ways to overcome your employer's perception about you and land that next career boost.

Here are tips from career coaches and experts on how to get your career on the right path.

Avoid Getting Passed Over For Promotions

Ask for what you want

Not asking for a promotion is the top reason why a person gets passed over, said Patti Wood, a communication expert, consultant, researcher and author.

“Often we assume that working hard and doing a good job should magically get us recognized. In actuality you need ask for your promotion and self promote. You need to meet on a regular basis with the people in your organization who can recommend you be promoted. Ask those people for the promotion and ask them if there is anything else you should be doing to insure that you are promoted. Ask them what you can do for them as well. Reciprocity is a good thing,” Wood said.

In addition, ask your teammates, clients and customers to share with your boss and others what you are doing that deserves recognition and promotion, she said.

Make sure communication is face to face. If you only email or text, you don't give face-to-face time to create trust,” she said.

“Recent research by Gregory Northcraft, a professor in executive leadership at the University of Illinois, shows when projects are managed by way of detached, high-tech means rather than face-to-face, people will have less confidence that others will do what they say they'll do. He says if your communication is mainly through email, coworkers will trust you less. Face-to-face contact yields the most trust and cooperation while e-mail nets the least, with videoconference interaction ranking somewhere in between,” Wood said.

“Your boss and coworkers need to be face-to- face to read the thousands of non-verbal cues that give them a read of you and help them decide the best way to interact with you,” she said. “Make yourself visible. You won't be promoted if you and your work are invisible. Do you keep your head down, don't socialize and think your work speaks for itself? You need to say hello or good-bye as you arrive or leave work. You also need to visit or socialize, speak up and contribute in meetings, ask for time to discuss projects face-to-face, go to lunch with your boss and team, and compliment others' success or work effort.”

Face-to-face contact builds trust, Wood said. “A heavy workload can be lightened when you feel you're working with others rather than avoiding others. Your boss is looking and listening for what you contribute to the group, so you need to participate and collaborate. If you don't know what to say or are anxious about being correct in what you say, use a magic phrase to voice your thoughts such as, ‘Have we thought about…’, “’Did anyone mention…,’ or, ‘Another option we might want to consider is… ‘.”

Avoid Getting Passed Over For Promotions

Reasons you might be passed over

Liz D'Aloia, founder of HR Virtuoso Company and Lisa Orbé-Austin, a psychologist and career coach, shared their reasons why many women are passed over for promotions:

  • You have good tactical skills, but no strategic skills. You might be great at your job, but the promotion may call for a higher level of strategic planning.
  • You are lacking interpersonal skills. You could be a great performer, but if you don't play well with others how will you be able to lead a project or a team?
  • You don’t have an executive presence. This usually means that you didn't show enough leadership or command during the interview. The hiring manager might think you're a great performer, but not ready for the next step yet.
  • You're not doing a great job of highlighting your accomplishments and achievement. You are not taking advantage of performance reviews and other informal opportunities to highlight the ways in which you are adding value to your department or organization.
  • You are not communicating your interest in advancing at the organization and may seem complacent about your career although you may not actually be complacent (e.g., you may be introverted).
  • You are not in the “in crowd.” Your organization may have cliques where your involvement in them can suggest your investment in the team. Are you not going to informal drinks or events with the team? Are you even invited?
  • You may not have the education or experience that they are looking to promote. You really have to look at similar positions within the organization and evaluate the type of person that holds the role.

Ask for feedback from employer

D’Aloia said that long tenured employees have a sense of entitlement about promotions. But what the company really needs is a new perspective, which often means that someone from outside of the department, or even from outside of the company, will be selected.

“If you get passed over for a promotion, be sure to ask for feedback. Ask your supervisor if there's something you need to improve on to move forward in the organization. If you're still not promoted after you work on the feedback given, perhaps it's time for you to move on and bring your perspective to a new role,” D’Aloia said.

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