5 reasons you’re not getting promoted

Few promotions and even fewer raises have been doled out in the last two years. But if you find yourself watching other people get promoted while you toil in the same position for what seems like far too long, one or more of these reasons may apply to you.

1. You’re not doing more than your job. When promotions are scarce, you have to work even harder to get ahead. That doesn’t just mean being the best at your job–it means doing more than what’s asked of you. You’ve heard of “exceeding expectations,” right? A common phrase when giving performance appraisals, it’s a step above “meets expectations.” The problem is that expectations are set based on the job description. So if you’re expected to achieve an 85% accuracy rate, and you hit 92%, you’re exceeding expectations. But that just means you’re really good at your current job–it doesn’t mean you’d be good in a new position. You need to do something that isn’t even remotely expected of you. 

2. You didn’t ask for it. “I’d like a promotion” won’t work. But “I’m excited about building my career here, and I’m interested in the XYZ position. What can I work on to make myself the best possible candidate for that spot?” If leadership tells you what’s required to get promoted, and you do it, you’ve got a pretty good case. Just make sure you follow-through.

3. You’re not as good as you think. Sometimes an honest assessment is in order. We all coast at work–sometimes for months at a time. Are you stuck in the doldrums? You may know the ins and outs more than anyone, but that’s not what gets people promoted. Hard work, determination, and team spirit get people promoted. If you’ve been dish-ragging around the office for the past few months taking long lunches and doing the minimal level to complete your work, it may be time for a reality check.

4. You’re not friends with the boss. You know who gets lots of promotions? Friends and relatives. And while you can’t always marry the boss’s daughter, you can make the boss a friend. You don’t have to be fishing buddies, but you do need the boss to enjoy your company and want to help you build your career. You should know the boss’s hobbies and have a few decent topics for small talk. For that matter, you can by books on small talk.

5. There’s no proof that you can do the next job. Let’s say you’ve been in your current job for 2+ years. That’s a lot of time to learn about the next job and build some of the necessary skills. Maybe you can help out when they’re on vacation, or when the workload is getting too large. A few jobs ago, my boss was burning the candle at both ends every day for weeks. I asked how I could help, knowing that with a few hours of training, I could assume 10 – 15 hours of her work every week. She was happy to train me, I was happy to learn the new skills, and everything went well. So well, in fact, that within 3 months she had handed off almost half of her job to me, and finally promoted me to take over all of her projects so she could focus on other things. All I had to do was ask.


2 responses to “5 reasons you’re not getting promoted

  1. I feel the strategies you have mentioned in this article will surely help to boost up my chances of promotion. Great views yeah, really liked them. Thanks.

  2. Pingback: The tale of a man who tried to quit his job | Get a Leg Up

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