Home Blog How Can I Avoid Being Looked Over For Promotion?

How Can I Avoid Being Looked Over For Promotion?

CFO, Career Management, Promotion |

Who was it that said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”?

Whoever this incredibly smart person was, they had probably been in the same position as you are now.

Have you just been overlooked for promotion?

Being passed over for a promotion can be discouraging after the long hours and dedicated service you’ve put in. The frustration of not knowing why management have chosen another candidate – or even a complete outsider – can leave you feeling pretty disheartened.

You may have been told that you are not yet ready, you’re too green, or that you lack experience. These, often subjective comments, can make matters worse. Especially if they aren’t entirely accurate or come without a strategy to help you build towards your goals.

But let’s not wallow in the quicksand of self-pity. Rather let’s take a look at how you can avoid being passed over for promotion in the future, and position yourself as the next obvious choice.

Very few promotions happen by chance. If you’re not planning your career path, and thinking three steps ahead, you can be pretty sure that the guy in the next cubicle is planning his – and it doesn’t include you.

It’s all about strategy.

You need to groom yourself into the role that you want. You won’t get it because you feel it’s owed to you. Entitlement doesn’t secure a promotion. Here’s what does:


Do you deliver on time? Is your work of an exceptional standard? Are you reliable?

In order to be deserving of the next rung of the ladder, you need to be the most efficient and effective version of yourself, which means turning regular delivery into a standard or "hygeine factor" and not the focus. In fact, having attention focused on your delivery can be a distraction from leadership skills you are trying to demonstrate. Still, make sure that you are ‘the go-to person" that people come to because they know that it will get done, but don't allow getting stuff done as what defines you. It is simply what is expected and is the credibility on which the next point helps you move forward.


“Doing your job” isn’t going to get you there in most environments. Going above and beyond, is. Constantly adding to your skill set, taking on company critical projects that will get you noticed, and turning your leadership skills into genuine value for the business is where you should direct your energy. Done consistently, you will find that your career starts taking the shape that you want as people measure you by the things that really make a difference. The stretch projects and events you take on should reflect where you want to go, and sometimes need to be manufactured by identifying problems you can solve or support solving. This is where much of your planning (and execution) needs to be focused.


Working hard on the above two points is a brilliant start. But in order for them to be fully effective, the right people need to notice them. Walking around the office with a sandwich board listing your achievements may be a little too forthright. However, effective networking in the echelons that you are aiming to inhabit needs to be high on your agenda. The decision makers need to see your efforts, your diligence, your leadership qualities. You will need to be consciously present and ready to engage. And obviously, this should be done in a manner that is attractive and aligned to your culture, not a "self-promotion" exercise.

What if your career plan doesn’t include your current company? Maybe they are too small or not in a space you are passionate about?

Interestingly, the same rules apply. You may not be planning a future with this company, but the skills and reputation that you build up will position you as a great option for another company, and you will find that you stack up well against others. It is about building a story that matters in the future as much as it does now.

These useful career tips sound obvious when they are spelled out in simple terms, but they still form the foundation of career success and achievement. They are also things that you aren’t necessarily taught in your degree or qualification, but are somehow expected to know in order to get ahead.


If you or your team members require more support in identifying ways of developing a career growth strategy and ways of "stretching", get in touch with our team for a free discussion. 








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