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It can be crushing not to get a promotion that you have set your heart on. You no doubt worked hard for it and had high hopes that the role would be yours. No doubt you feel disappointed, deflated, and even bitter. When in this situation, it is important to analyse why you were overlooked. This is a painful process but one you must try to do objectively. This post will point you in the right direction to begin the analysis.

Hopefully, after discovering what you need to do to win the next promotion you will never have to go through this process again.

You’re Networking with the Wrong People

The bottom line to winning a promotion is that the people who are going to make the decision, and their contemporaries, like you. To do that, they have to know you, and to know you involves you getting to know them. Networking, if you will.

This is not to say that you should become their number one fan, but they should know you as a dependable and approachable professional who is good at their job and eager to progress. The line between trying too hard and credibility is a fine one, but not an impossible one to learn. With a bit of practice, you’ll find your groove.

It is not enough to network only among your immediate colleagues. You should aim to expand your horizons.

Your Strategy Needs Work

Like a business, your career needs a strategy. Many make the mistake of being exceptional at their part of the business and do not branch out in terms of discovering and understanding the wider operation. It is a common mistake to think that being good at what you do at the moment is going to earn you a promotion. It is only part of the battle.

Whoever is responsible for giving you a promotion wants to know how well you’ll transition from being someone who gets things done to someone who leads. Unless they see that you can be a leader, you may be overlooked again and again.

Try to show your line manager you can step up into bigger shoes. Make the time to learn about your line manager’s position and try to understand the pain points. Collaborate. This will help you to show that you can transition to bigger and better things.

Lacking Soft Skills

The higher up the corporate ladder you rise the more you need to demonstrate that you have good soft skills. Aspects such as conflict negotiation, diplomacy, and business communication become paramount. If you feel you are lacking in this area, it could be holding you back and hurting your promotion chances.


This is a tricky issue as it often involves facing hard truths and identifying your blind spots caused by a lack of self-awareness. So, what are the blind spots? These are things about you that are almost impossible to see without feedback. They can be things that others find annoying or counterproductive about you. You probably do these things without realising that what you were doing made it that way. Basically, what people say about you when you’re not around to hear it.

And, indeed, this can be hard to hear. Using a coach or mentor can be a good way to get the objective feedback needed to sharpen this area of your game. Be warned, it is never an easy listen but it is a necessary one.

Bringing in Outside Help

To deal with these issues effectively, it is often beneficial to bring in a professional career coach and mentor. Getting feedback from colleagues is often difficult as people are conscious of not wanting to offend you.