What to Do If You’re Passed Over for a Promotion
Are your co-workers being promoted while you’re stuck in the same position? Or have you been in the same position for more than three years without your supervisor ever bringing up the subject of advancement?
If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to either of these questions, you might be losing your motivation to perform to the best of your ability in your job. However, it’s important to not let the situation compromise your performance. Instead, channel your energy into finding out why you’re not being promoted — and what you can do about it.
Possible reasons you weren’t promoted
There can be several reasons why you’re still stuck in the same position. Perhaps your supervisor feels you don’t yet possess the necessary skills or experience, and it’s just a matter of time. At the same time, another employee might simply have more experience and be a better fit for the position. And of course, there’s always the possibility that your organization isn’t planning on promoting anyone for the foreseeable future. This can happen in companies that have a relatively flat hierarchy and few titles.
Address the situation
Considering that recruiters and hiring managers like to see job growth on your résumé, it’s important for you to address the situation so you can keep moving forward. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Remain professional. As Mike Guerchon points out in his Fortune article “The worst thing you can do after getting passed up on a promotion,” you can’t let negative emotions like disappointment or hurt affect your behaviour and actions. If necessary, take some time for yourself to process your emotions before you go back to work. You can’t risk getting angry with your supervisor or venting at your coworkers. Instead, redirect your energy into your performance.
- Ask for feedback. In her article “The Realistic Way to Bounce Back When You’re Passed Over for a Promotion” for The Muse, Rachel Bitte advises seeking feedback from your supervisor. You’ll probably learn exactly how you can improve — plus, you might gain some insights into how decisions about leadership positions are made in your organization.
- Look for other ways to gain more responsibility. Even without a title change, you can still advance, as Kathryn Vasel explains in her CNN Business article “How long should you stay at a job if you aren’t being promoted?” For example, ask for more challenging tasks or request to be put in charge of certain projects. That way, you’ll have more responsibilities to add to your résumé.
- Look for another job. If you’re performing well and there’s still no promotion in sight, it might be time to look elsewhere. Talk to a recruiter about your situation and explain what your skills and experience are so he or she has the necessary information to help you find a position that’s better suited to your qualifications.
Being passed over for a promotion can be an incredibly demotivating experience. But if you turn the situation into a learning opportunity, it can drive you to grow professionally — and as a result, help you land a better job.