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What to Do if You Don’t Get a Promotion

Post Author Sarah Chatelain
Mar 10, 2014 9:56:00 AM
Career Tips

The feeling of rejection is hard to deal with, from not getting chosen for the kickball team in grade school, to not getting a promotion at work.  While you have probably realized that your popularity in grade school gym class has had little to no bearing on your adult existence, denial of a promotion has irrefutable influence on your career and your life.  How you handle this type of situation can directly affect the rest of your career. Here are some tips on how to improve your chances at earning the next promotion.


1. Don’t take it personally

It’s easy to react emotionally to this kind of setback and assume that you didn’t get promoted because of personal reasons.  Before reaching assumptions, remember that your supervisor probably had to justify his or her decision with factual evidence of who was the best candidate for promotion—not just who he or she liked more.  Whether or not you think your supervisor was influenced by personal preferences on his or her decision, you must be able to keep a level head and move on to the next challenge. 

2. Meet with your supervisor

If you do not pursue the position further, your supervisor may think that you did not truly want it.  Schedule a meeting with him or her to discuss why you did not get the promotion.  Bring your notes from your independent review, compare them with his or her notes, and construct a detailed plan to improve your skills.  Make sure that you set specific guidelines for what is expected, and set regular meetings to assess your progress.  Assume full responsibility for keeping these meetings consistent—this is your chance to show how capable you are at keeping deadlines.

3. Keep track of your progress

Keep a running file on the skills that you are developing and their positive impact on your job performance.  Being able to show concrete results of your hard work will most definitly increase your chances of being awarded the next promotion. In addition, don't forget to present the results at your yearly review!

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