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Missed Promotion? 10 Tips To Succeed

May 29, 2024 13:52 IST
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Setbacks and success are both a part of your professional journey. After all, the greatest success stories often begin with a healthy dose of overcoming adversity.

Use this experience to fuel your ambition and keep your eyes firmly set on achieving your career goals, asserts Sonica Aron, founder of the HR consultancy firm, Marching Sheep.

  • Career-related questions? Ask rediffGURUS HERE.

Missed your promotion? 10 things to do to succeed at work

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ron Lach/

As we climb the corporate ladder, it is no secret that growth opportunities become fewer and more challenging; you realise that your career is not going to be a straight upward line.

There are phases where you will feel stuck or find yourself struggling to get roles of your choice or roles that are both gratifying and challenging.

We can either let these phases pull us down or face them chin up, knowing that not all days are the same.

We all know that not getting what we want can sting. It can be a new role in a new function in a new geography or a much-deserved promotion.

We are all emotional beings and feel a strong sense of attachment to our professional achievements.

There would have been an anticipation of a fancy new designation, a bigger paycheck and the chance to take your career to the next level. But for some reason, it does not happen.

What do you do?

You will feel broken, disappointed, maybe even angry.

But before you let this discouragement take hold, take a deep breath. Tell yourself this isn't the end of the road; it's a detour with valuable lessons waiting to be learned.

This setback could be a springboard, not a dead end; a comma, not a full stop.

Here are some things to keep in mind so that you can spring back to form:

1. Acknowledge the feelings but don't dwell on them

Acknowledge your disappointment. It's normal to feel bummed, angry or even a little lost.

Bottling up emotions can hinder your ability to move forward.

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, partner, mentor or therapist.

Vent, cry it out, punch a pillow but remember that dwelling on the 'What ifs' won't change the outcome.

Set a time limit for your emotional rollercoaster -- maybe a day, a weekend, whatever feels right -- and then shift your focus to 'What next'.

2. Seek feedback, don't blame

Once you've processed the initial sting, schedule a meeting with your manager, mentor and sponsor.

Ask for specific feedback on what you need to work on to make the next logical move in your career.

Frame the conversation as a learning opportunity, not a fishing expedition for justifications.

Approach it not with accusations but with a genuine desire to understand the decision and identify areas for improvement.

Ask specific questions like, 'What skills were most crucial for this role?' or 'Were there any specific areas where I could have strengthened my candidacy?'

Be receptive to their insights even if they're tough to hear.

3. Reframe the narrative: It's not over, it's just different

Sometimes, rejection can be a sign that the role wasn't the best fit for you anyway. Maybe it required a different skillset or a leadership style you're not quite ready for.

Think of it this way: The universe might be steering you towards an even better opportunity.

This might feel counterintuitive but the experience can be a powerful growth catalyst.

Did the selection criteria reveal skill gaps you weren't aware of? Perhaps you need to brush up on leadership qualities or public speaking or stakeholder management.

Were some of the criteria not up your alley, that is to say you did not enjoy them? Maybe the desired skillset leaned more towards data analysis or project management which was not your strong suit.

Use this knowledge to craft a personal development plan or discuss with your mentor and sponsor so that you can look at an improved career path.

4. Level up your skillset

This is the time for you to learn new skills and get exposure in areas that interest you. Also look for projects that push you out of your comfort zone.

This will not only add to your resume but also demonstrate a positive attitude that everyone loves.

Are there specific skills you need to, or want to, develop? Industry certifications to pursue? Online courses to take?

Remember, continuous learning is the key to staying relevant and competitive in today's job market.

In a nutshell, it's time to take action.

Enrol in online courses, attend industry workshops or consider pursuing a relevant certification.

Show your initiative by proposing new projects or taking on additional responsibilities that allow you to showcase your newly acquired skills.

5. Network like a social butterfly but don't be creepy

One setback does not mean you're suddenly invisible.

Your network is your net worth especially in today's job market.

Connect with people in your field on LinkedIn, attend industry events and volunteer your expertise for relevant causes.

Get in touch with old colleagues and build relationships with people in your field. Not only will you expand your professional network, you might also stumble upon unexpected opportunities.

Building strong relationships with decision-makers and potential future employers keeps your name out there and opens doors to new opportunities.

Don't underestimate the power of genuine connections. You never know who might have the key to unlocking your next career move.

6. Become a problem solver; companies love fixers

Look around your current role.

Are there inefficiencies or bottlenecks that could be streamlined?

Can you propose innovative solutions that add value to the company?

Shine a light on your problem-solving skills.

Taking initiative demonstrates your potential and shows you're not content with the status quo.

7. Invest in yourself, not just in your career

While career advancement is important, it's not everything.

When you're feeling discouraged, take time to recharge and refocus on what truly matters to you.

Pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones or explore a new interest.

A healthy work-life balance fuels creativity, resilience and overall well-being, making you a more effective and motivated employee in the long run.

8. Celebrate your wins, big and small

Focus on the small victories along the way.

Did you hit your sales target?

Did you successfully lead a new project?

Acknowledge your achievements, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

Remember, big achievements are a culmination of smaller milestones.

Sometimes, the best career move might be a lateral one that allows you to gain new experiences and broaden your skillset.

Consider taking on a challenging project in a different department or volunteering for a cross-functional committee. This demonstrates your adaptability, willingness to learn and commitment to the company's overall success.

Celebrate everything you achieve!

9. Remember your why. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Take some time to reflect on your core values and career aspirations.

What excites you about your field?

What kind of impact do you want to make?

Reconnecting with your 'Why' will reignite your passion and give you the strength to keep pushing forward.

Take some time for introspection. Reflect on your long-term goals and aspirations.

Does your current role align with your vision for the future? If not, explore your options.

This could involve seeking out new opportunities within your company, pursuing additional education or even venturing into a completely different field.

10. Don't be afraid to walk away

Let's be honest. Sometimes, the best career move is to move on.

If your company culture doesn't value your growth or lacks clear pathways for advancement, it might be time to explore greener pastures.

Don't be afraid to leverage your newfound skills and experience to find a position that aligns with your aspirations and offers opportunities for advancement.

Remember, every road has curves and turns, bumps and potholes.

Similarly, setbacks and success are both a part of your professional journey. After all, the greatest success stories often begin with a healthy dose of overcoming adversity.

So dust yourself off, use this experience to fuel your ambition and keep your eyes firmly set on achieving your career goals.

The road ahead might have taken a detour, but the destination remains within reach.

Missed your promotion? 10 things to do to succeed at work

  • Career-related questions? Ask rediffGURUS HERE
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