How to get noticed at promotion time
Passed over for a recent job opening? Take these steps to get the attention you deserve.
The ideal workplace gives each employee a fair shot at to prove their value by the time performance reviews roll around. Finding out you didn’t get a bump up the ladder can be a huge blow to your self-esteem, but unfortunately, there are only so many rewards for the taking. If you’re wondering how to get promoted, you’ve got to perform better than your co-workers.
Take these steps to prevent the next promotion from passing you by.
Do a self-assessment
Instead of wallowing in your misery and crying “poor me,” take a moment to reflect on why you were passed over. Peggy Klaus, author of Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, recommends asking yourself these five questions:
1. Were you really ready in terms of skills and temperament to do the new job?
- If so, what qualified you for the role?
- If not, what didn’t qualify you for the role?
2. Why did I want this position? What would it have given me in terms of expertise and experience?
3. Did the other candidates have something you didn’t?
4. Do you know the value that you bring as an employee? (“You have to be very clear with the ‘powers that be’ about what you can bring in terms of skills, experience, and expertise,” Klaus says. “In other words, what’s in it for them?”)
5. Did you articulate to your boss why you deserve the promotion?
Find out why you were passed over
To understand how to get promoted, first you must understand why you missed the mark. “You need to get feedback on why you didn’t get that previous promotion,” says Philadelphia-based executive coach Julie Cohen. “If you don’t obtain that information, you won’t know what areas you need to improve upon.”
Be straightforward with your manager. Klaus offers this script: “I was surprised that I wasn’t tapped for an interview for that promotion. Can you tell me, in specifics, why that happened? It would be helpful for me to learn what skills I need to develop in order to get promoted in the future.”
“It’s best to be very direct,” Klaus says, “otherwise your boss might beat around the bush because this can be a difficult conversation to have.”
Develop a plan
Once you’ve found out from your manager why you didn’t get promoted, your next step is to create a game plan for how you’re going to gain the skills or experience that your boss said you lack. It’s important to take a collaborative approach and get your boss’s input when setting up your strategy. “Say, ‘You know, you’re right—I haven’t worked with that software before. Let’s figure out a way for me me learn the ins and outs of that program,’” Klaus says.
Learn how to articulate your value
Being an effective self-promoter is key, says executive and leadership coach Jane Scudder. “I think what happens a lot, especially with high-performing individuals, is they think they don’t have to make their work known, or they’re so busy doing great work that they don’t take the time to stop and allocate a percentage of their time to promote their work internally,” Scudder laments, “but that’s what you really have to do to make your boss aware of your value.”
From here on out, keep your boss up to date on your big accomplishments on an ongoing basis. Still, be prepared to jog your manager’s memory when the next promotion opportunity pops up. One strategy, Sudder suggests, is to email your boss and say, “I want to make sure that I’m in the running for this opportunity. I’ve gone ahead and written down my five biggest impacts on the organization over the last six months.”
Pro tip: Zero in on your results. “The best self-promoters tie their work back to impact,” says Scudder. “Anything that impacts the company’s bottom line is great, but not everyone’s role touches dollars. If you’ve streamlined a process that used to take 10 days and now takes nine days, you’ve created a 10% savings, which is a big achievement.”
If there’s a job posting for the position, “print it out and annotate it with the criteria that shows you’re ready for the position, and share that information with your boss,” Cohen advises.
Seek out job openings in other departments
If you love where you work but find that there’s no way to move up within your department, hunt down job openings in other areas of the company. You can get a line on job opportunities—oftentimes before they’re posted publicly—by talking to employees in other departments, who can fill you in on the comings and goings in their sector.
Spinning your wheels?
If you’ve been passed over from multiple promotions, it may be time to find a new employer that offers more opportunities for advancement. Finding the right job, of course, is crucial. Need a little help? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Those are two quick and easy ways Monster can help you begin the search for an employer that values what you bring to the table.