It’s frustrating when you’re constantly overlooked for promotion. You work hard every day and think that all of your efforts will eventually pay off with additional responsibility (and more money, naturally) and then you’re let down again as someone else, often someone who seems to be less qualified, gets the promotion ahead of you.
What’s a good employee to do?
Here are 4 reasons why you might be overlooked for a promotion:
1. A Lack of soft skills
Your job involves more than just the specific skills that you’ve learned during your professional career and while you were in college. You need so-called soft skills as well.
What are soft skills? They’re people skills, essentially. You use soft skills to improve your relationship with your peers.
Here are some soft skills you should know:
- Teamwork - Are you someone who’s viewed as a team player or a solo act? Working well with people shows your boss that you’re ready to for the types of responsibilities that often accompany a promotion.
- Consensus building - Can you influence others to make compromises and reach an agreement? If not, keep in mind that it’s a skill that can be learned. Like any other skill, however, it requires practice.
- Likeability - It may seem that being likeable comes naturally to some people. However, it’s also a soft skill that you can learn. Once you become more likeable, you’ll find that you’re more likely to receive that promotion.
You might have noticed that, on more than one occasion, someone who isn’t as good at your job as you gets the promotion ahead of you. Why is that? The odds are fairly good that it’s because that employee has superior soft skills.
Those are the skills you need if you want to get promoted.
2. Out of sight, out of mind
Does your second line manager know who you are? How often have you talked with a high-level manager? How often have you presented something in a meeting that included upper management?
If you’re not visible, you’re not going to be preferred when your superiors have to decide who to promote. That’s because if they don’t know who you are, you certainly aren’t going to be high up on their list.
Here are some ways you can become more visible at your company:
- Mentoring others - If you’re viewed as someone who’s training newer staff members, then you’re demonstrating both competence and a willingness to work with other people. That kind of responsibility gets noticed by management.
- Presentations - Seize any opportunity you can to present something, especially in front of management. You can show off your latest work, demonstrate your soft skills when you take questions, and maintain a presence in front of key decision makers. That will improve your odds of getting a promotion.
- Always be there - Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is just being there. If there’s a meeting that’s not mandatory, be there anyway. If you’re invited to lunch, especially by management, accept without hesitation. Maintaining a presence in front of decision makers will put you on the fast track to a promotion.
3. You argue too much
If you’re a chronic arguer, you’ll likely find no love from your boss when it comes time to consider you for a promotion. In fact, your boss probably views you as a pest and thinks you should probably be kept lower in the food chain.
There’s nothing wrong with having disagreements. Indeed, some managers will consider outspoken disagreements a prerequisite for promotion. However, if you’re viewed as an antagonist, you’re only hurting yourself.
Follow these tips to avoid being seen as argumentative:
- Pick your battles - You don’t need to voice every single disagreement. Sometimes, silence really is golden. Decide which points of contention are the most important to the business and focus on those.
- Work on your body language - You might be sending off signals that you’re argumentative unintentionally. Maintain an open, upright posture in meetings. Try to smile as much as possible and maintain a poker face when you hear points that are disagreeable.
- Be more positive - You’ll offset your argumentative reputation with a healthy dose of compliments about ideas that are great. Look for reasons to praise co-workers, but be sure that you’re sincere. Flattery will literally get you nowhere.
4. You’re not going above and beyond the call of duty
Remember, a promotion means more responsibility. Why should your manager promote you if you don’t show any desire to accept additional responsibility right now?
Here are a few ways that you can make it clear that you’re willing to go the extra mile:
- Volunteer - When your boss asks for a volunteer, be the first to raise your hand. This tells management that you’re someone who’s dedicated to the business.
- Wear other hats - Your job description might be very specific. However, if you want to get promoted, you’ll have to be willing to work outside of your comfort zone. Show your company’s management that you’re willing to do that by taking on tasks that aren’t in your job description right now.
- Triple-check your work - Avoid turning in something with an error by double- and triple-checking your work. Give yourself as close to a spotless reputation as you can and your boss will know that you’re serious about the business.
That promotion is yours if you want it. Just be certain that you approach your job as someone who deserves to be promoted.
Are there any points we missed out? Let us know below...