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Why You're Being Overlooked for the Promotion You Want (and How to Fix It)

You’ve been dominating in your current position for years, with positive performance reviews to show for it. Your supervisors obviously trust you and rely on your hard work to support their efforts.

However, you’re starting to feel anxious that your career is stagnating. You’ve outgrown your current position and you’re hungry for a bigger, more challenging role. But your higher-ups—the same people who are delighted with your job performance—don’t seem to want to give you the time of day.

What the heck is going on??

As a certified human capital strategist, I can tell you firsthand what keeps supervisors from hiring trustworthy employees into higher positions—and it’s NOT that they just want to hold you back.

Or at least that’s not the reason in most cases.

Rather, it’s that they’re comfortable with where you are; and there’s a level of qualification they’re looking for in the position you want, which they haven’t seen from you yet.

While they trust you, and probably even like you, promoting you (and subsequently going through the hassle of finding your replacement) seems like too much of a risk for them right now.

So, let’s assume ignorance over malice here, and focus on how you can show them the win in hiring you for the position you want. Here’s what you can do:

1. Start doing the job you want to be hired for

It’s a gamble to take on more responsibility without getting paid for it. But the people who get promoted are the ones who put themselves out there first.

Rather than waiting for an opportunity to be offered to you (good luck with that), you can demonstrate your commitment by taking on the role as if it’s already part of your job description. This is the kind of bold initiative that makes higher-ups want to take a chance on you—whether you’re qualified or not. It’s also a way for you to learn and build experience in the area that you want to grow into.

2. Immerse yourself in the organization

Too often people take a job because it pays well and the benefits are nice. It may not seem obvious to you, but employers can sense that. The people who are trusted for advanced positions are the ones who show they understand their role beyond their current job duties. They see how their work fits into the bigger picture of the organization and do what they can to maximize their impact.

That means immersing yourself in the company—being attentive in meetings, joining committees, attending office functions and connecting with staff members outside of your division or department.

These actions demonstrate that you’re engaged in your work and not just there to collect a paycheck.

3. Find mentors within the organization

As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” People who get recommended for higher positions are the ones who’ve built relationships with folks who’ve been where they’re going.

By connecting with mentors you’ll gain insight, guidance and direction on the position you want. You’ll also have an influential person in the organization who can advocate for you and vouch for your abilities.

4. Make a case for the value you bring to the table

Nothing speaks louder than hard-core evidence. The people who get the promotion are the ones who prove they’re the right fit with their track record and credentials. If you’re leaning into the role you want, immersing yourself in the organization and learning under a mentor, then you’re able to show that you’ve been doing the work and building experience.

Take this one step further by explaining how your accomplishments, strengths, skills, education and experiences can be an asset. This demonstrates that you’re invested in the organization’s overall success.

Ready to get recognized and advance at work, or build an effective professional brand? Contact me to find out how I can help you. Click here.

About Fay Ferguson

I’m a life and career strategist helping smart, driven professionals break through career plateaus. Through my mindset coaching and career growth strategy, I help you build the confidence and skills you need to own your worth, be undeniable and ask for what you deserve.

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