How to Move Forward After Being Passed Over For a Promotion

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Getting passed over for a promotion is sometimes hard to accept, especially when you feel that you deserved the opportunity. But there are steps you can take to improve your situation so you are ready and qualified to take on an advanced role in the future. You can use the criteria and tips in this article to help you move forward if you’ve been passed over for a promotion.

What can qualify an employee for a promotion?

The criteria employers use to offer promotions to employees can differ between industries, organizations and job roles. Typically, employers look for employees who continuously exceed expectations, contribute to the achievement of departmental or company goals and who are dependable and motivated to take on their required job duties as well as additional responsibilities.

Examples of criteria that employers may consider when evaluating employees for promotion:

  • Leadership capabilities
  • Mentorship capabilities
  • Exceptional productivity
  • Consistently reaching goals
  • Enthusiasm and motivation
  • Above-average work ethic
  • Teamwork and collaboration

It’s important to evaluate your work performance when applying for a promotion, and these criteria can give you a solid foundation for developing in your career. 

How to move forward after being overlooked for a promotion

Here are some steps you can take to move forward if you have been passed over for promotion:

1. First, request a review from your employer

First, you can request a review from your employer to discuss the reasons for their denial. This can allow you to understand your employer’s perception of your work ethic and approach to achieving your work goals, and you can use the review to guide you through your career development. Some things you might ask your employer to review include your productivity and performance, how well you meet your objectives and how often you exceed expectations. This insight can help you apply feedback to your career.

2. Second, seek feedback from your colleagues

Next, you can seek feedback from your colleagues and teammates. You might ask them to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to determine which areas of your performance or productivity you can improve. For instance, you might ask for feedback about your time management skills and the ability to prioritize your tasks appropriately. You can also get feedback on the quality of your work, too.

3. Third, create a development plan

Then, create a development plan based on the feedback you receive from your employer and colleagues. Using your feedback, write out specific objectives such as taking on an additional task every week to contribute more toward your team’s and company’s goals. Then outline the approaches you’ll take to ensure you’re meeting your objectives. Once you have outlined a basic development plan for yourself, put it into action.

4. Fourth, restructure your career goals

After putting your development plan into action, you can also think about restructuring your overall career goals. For example, you might reconsider going after a high-level management position and focus on obtaining an assistant manager role for the time being. Restructuring your career goals to allow yourself the room to improve can help you stay motivated as you use your development plan.

5. Fifth, make a list of all the skills that you have plus the skills you need to be successful in your role 

Some skills and areas of expertise you might include are your time management skills, your attention to detail, your work quality and your productivity. When you take the time to think about what you can bring to an advanced position, you can better form a plan for improvement to help you get there.

6. Then, take time to learn new skills

Learn new skills you can use to advance in your career. For instance, if you want to advance from a junior web developer to a project manager, you might take additional courses to further your technical skills. Taking initiative to further your growth and development can also show your employer that you are taking steps to ensure you’re qualified the next time there’s an advancement opportunity.

6. Next, apply new skills to your job

After learning new skills, start applying your new knowledge to your job duties. For example, if you recently learned how to program HTML, you can use your newly acquired tech skills to contribute to a development project or use your knowledge of data entry to assist coworkers when they document client data. Whatever new skill you choose to develop, apply it to your current role.

7. Then, get proactive and contribute

You can also get more proactive and contribute to team collaboration, project development or you can offer ideas during brainstorming sessions. Your effort to contribute can show your dedication to your job as well as your teammates. Additionally, finding ways to step in and contribute more can help you build strong professional relationships as well as show your colleagues your dependability.

8. Afterward, volunteer for leadership roles

Consider volunteering for more leadership roles in your organization. For instance, you might offer to lead the sales team when they implement new sales strategies or offer to direct weekly team meetings. You might also offer to sit in on employee evaluations for staff who are under your supervision. Taking on more leadership responsibilities can show your employer that you have what it takes to advance to higher-level roles within your company.

9. Then, get prepared for future advancements

As you work through your development plan and apply new skills, get yourself prepared for future advancement opportunities. For instance, you might track the projects and tasks you complete as well as the extra work you put in and collect this data in a portfolio. Then, during your next promotional review, you’ll be able to provide your employer with solid evidence that shows why you are a good fit for the advanced role.

10. Finally, look for additional job opportunities

Finally, if you still are passed over for a promotion and you have performed exceedingly above-standard, you might consider looking for additional job opportunities. For instance, you might look to other departments within your organization to make a transition, or you might consider looking for another position if you feel you deserve an advancement and aren’t getting recognition.

These steps can help you move forward and take action to further develop in your career so you’re ready the next time you’re offered an advancement opportunity.

Additional tips for you to consider

The following additional tips can also help you take steps to move forward after being passed over for promotion:

  • Review your resume and revise it in case you decide you want to look for a different position
  • Speak with your employer about their decision to find out if there is anything more you can do to qualify for the promotion prior to moving forward
  • Seek advice from your professional network to gain insight into how others have dealt with being overlooked for a promotion
  • Attend professional development training offered through your work to show your manager that you’re motivated to improve and take on the responsibilities of advanced roles

Being passed over for a promotion doesn’t have to mean the end of your advancement opportunities. When you take steps to improve and grow in your career, you can increase the chances that you are offered the position the next time a promotional opportunity is presented to you.