Regardless of the industry that you’re in, climbing the career ladder is an ongoing priority that holds a central role in your definition of success. Consequently, then, there’s no greater source of frustration than being continually overlooked for promotion, especially when you feel that you’ve earned it.
Unfortunately, promotions don’t always go to the employee that has shown the best work ethic and produced the right results. So, if you’re still a rung or two lower down the ladder than you’d ideally like, you must take the time to pinpoint the root of your troubles as well as the best solution. Here are eight factors that could be holding you back, along with how to respond in style.
#1. You are in a pivotal role.
The harsh reality is that employers will be reluctant to promote an employee that they will struggle to replace. After all, this doesn’t solve their overall recruitment problems, and will simply create a new void within the operation. For the sake of convenience, the majority of companies would rather promote someone whose successor will bee easy to find.
On the one hand, you need to employ the right level of endeavor and expertise in your current role to even be considered for a promotion. On the other hand, you should give some consideration to who may take on your current role. If you’re a team leader, this could mean investing time into training a junior member. The idea is that you’ll move into a managerial role, for example, while they move into your old position. In turn, the firm simply needs to find a new junior employee.
It’s a tough act to balance, but showing that you are indispensable to the firm but replaceable in regards to your current role is the sweet spot that you should aim for.
#2. Your immediate superior does not want you to advance.
Company politics have a huge role to play in the decision-making processes of promotion. Even if you are a highly-qualified and skilled worker that has shown the capabilities to perform in the advertised vacancy, a poor relationship with your immediate superior could put an end to any hopes of securing the promotion you deserve.
The immediate superior is a direct conduit to the partners. While they won’t necessarily have the power to ensure you gain a promotion, they certainly have the influential power to kill your dreams dead in the water. So, if the professional relationship is lacking, try to cultivate one by exploring areas in which you can assist them while also showing an interest in growing the bond on a personal and professional level. It should aid the ongoing work life too.
If building a winning relationship with your direct superior isn’t possible, you’ll either have to move firm or wait patiently in the hope they do. The former is more practical.
#3. The firm is not growing fast enough to promote you.
Your situation today is probably considerably different than it was when you started this role of employment, which is why you should avoid any feelings of regret about taking a job that you’ve not outgrown. Nevertheless, if the firm you work for isn’t in a position to create a role befitting of your improved talent and experience, it’s time to look elsewhere.
There are times in your career where you may have to accept that the firm isn’t capable of reaching the heights needed to let you thrive. Sadly, there’s little you can do to change this unless you progress to partner status. If the business won’t be proactive in its bid to be better, you’ll need to take control of your personal journey by actively pursuing opportunities elsewhere. For some, this may include starting a side hustle.
Either way, accepting your fate in a dead-end job while hoping for a miracle in which the firm learns from its mistakes is unlikely to yield positive outcomes.
#4. You just don’t fit into the culture.
We are all familiar with the idea of “their face fits/doesn’t fit”, and it can often be as influential on promotion prospects as all other elements combined. Employees are a reflection of the firm and this becomes even more evident higher up the ladder. Likewise, managers and directors want to work with senior staff that trust and work with without any professional compatibility concerns.
Firm culture is something that most businesses now pay huge attention to. If you’re planning to join the senior faculty, it’s important to show that you are in tune with the personality of the brand as well as a willingness to support its presence both online and offline. Furthermore, you should celebrate all initiatives that are operated by the firm. Play an active role in the extracurricular activities while also championing anything such as shorter team meetings and BYOD rituals.
Essentially, employers need senior staff that will serve as the link between directors/partners and the junior employees. Show that you will act in the desired manner, and you won’t regret it.
#5. You have not worked out how to work smart.
Your current role may rely solely on developing good skills. However, promotion to a more important role will probably entail the need to develop good habits too. It’s not enough to work harder. You will need to work smarter too. Until you do, the partners and recruitment managers will continue to have doubts about your aptitude for the role, even when you boast the raw talent.
If you want to work smart, you must first use that acronym. Ensure that your work is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Meanwhile, you must employ the winning worker strategies that allow you to maximise productivity and workflow. Being goal-orientated and taking the time to use the latest technologies should put you on the right path. Personal actions such as learning to relax and adopting smart lifestyle habits can only have a positive impact also.
You’ll need to be smart in order to gain the promotion, so it makes sense to work smart in your day-to-day activities. Overlook this feature at your peril.
#6. You are not making yourself visible to the right people.
The fact of the matter is that you will need senior people to hold doors open for you at several stages in your career. However, it’s your responsibility to put yourself in the frame. It can seem like an alien concept, but investing in the personal brand is crucial. One of the first challenges is to become the most memorable person in the workplace as this will stop the threat of being ignored.
Top tips include dressing to impress, using situations like appraisals to create opportunities, and taking direct action such as asking for mentor. Ensuring that action speak louder than words will always be a smart move too. There will be a lot of envy colleagues as you climb the career ladder or put yourself in pole position for promotion. Take care of this problem in advance by being likeable. If nothing else, it’ll ensure that management staff don’t have second thoughts due to negative vibes.
Ultimately, you need to have a personality that matches your capabilities and reflects well on the business as a whole. Be heard in a positive way, and opportunities will present themselves.
#7. You don’t have a career plan.
Some people are lucky enough to land on their feet and achieve their dreams by pure fluke. For most workers, though, it’s virtually impossible to reach the right destination until you’ve set your sights on those goals and thought about how to achieve it. It’s an old cliché, but a goal without a plan is just a wish. It’s also very hard to work for promotion with conviction without a plan.
The best businesspeople all have goals, and you should too. When you actively target a specific role, you can research the skills and qualities that are most likely to land you the role before showcasing them in your existing role. Meanwhile, setting timeframes on when you expect to land roles provides a healthy level of pressure that forces you to take action. Perhaps most importantly, you should write the plan down as it provides clarity.
It’s OK to deviate from the pathway when new opportunities arise, but it’s imperative that you keep moving in the right direction. A defined career plan will help you do this.
#8. You have not figured out what your firm deems as important.
If you continue to sit patiently in hope that it’ll be your turn soon, the chances are that you’ll be left waiting a lifetime. You may know that your qualities are tailor-made for the promotion you want, but it counts for very little if your employer isn’t of the same opinion. Essentially, you need to view the situation from their perspective to have any genuine hopes of getting pocked.
Some businesses are exclusively focused on profit generation while others place emphasis on the non-quantifiable elements. You need to appreciate where the firm stands on this situation while also concentrating on your strengths and what they can continue to offer the firm. Demonstrate your value in relation to the job you want, as well as the one you currently possess, and you should make the right impression to maximize the chances of securing an offer of improved employment.
Alternatively, you could seek an external move up the career ladder. Either way, though, a documented analysis of your accomplishments and value will significantly aid the cause.