7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Get A Promotion

In the past, promotions used to be linked to longevity. You’d spend a certain number of years with a company and then you’d be given a promotion and a raise to go with it. Nowadays, however, things are different. Employers recognise their employees for their contributions, not for their time. The truth is, it’s easy to dedicate long hours to your work. But, are you actually doing anything useful with that time? If the answer is not yes, then a promotion is unlikely to happen for you.

However, if your answer is yes, then you might be thinking about taking the next step in your career.

To help you to progress your career, here’s a great video from Business Insider on how to get a promotion.

Here are the 7 most common mistakes that people make when it comes to trying to get a promotion:

1. Neglecting long-term goals

Focusing too much on the promotion you want can make you lose sight of your long-term goals. It’s important to remember that your career is a journey. You need to ask yourself whether this promotion is going to support where you ultimately want to get to.

2. Brown-nosing

Sucking up to your boss or your supervisor is a cheap tactic that doesn’t work. For one, it’s always obvious what you’re trying to do. Instead of trying to use the tactic of ‘flattery gets you everywhere’, focus on doing your job well. Treat all your colleagues with professional respect and aim to be in line with your company culture.

3. Overshooting your target

This point is for those who don’t see the line between their own duties and other people’s duties. If you suddenly start taking on your manager’s responsibilities, for example, you’re more likely to make yourself look bad than win brownie points for helping. Use your time effectively, but focus on your own role. Complete your own tasks promptly and to the highest quality. If you do have spare time, get a head start on your next project or ask your manager for other ways to contribute.

4. Thinking longevity wins

This is a common misconception in the workplace. Unfortunately for those who believe it, the fact of the matter is that working for the same company for a long time does NOT automatically qualify you for a promotion. Employers focus on the value each employee contributes to their company’s success. They want to see innovative, cost-cutting ideas. You could go for a promotion after only a year or two within a new work place, as long as you constantly demonstrate the highest quality performance.

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5. Not having a good reason

When an opening arises, asking your boss to consider you for the new role is not enough. You need to be able to refer to your past performance to demonstrate that you are capable of delivering and that you are well suited for this role. You’ll only be considered for a promotion if your boss is convinced that you have demonstrated your capabilities in your current role.

It comes down to the fact that, if you’re going to ask for a promotion, you need to have a good reason. Your boss isn’t going to promote you just to be nice. If you have a recent achievement or milestone that you can show, you give the necessary incentive to get what you want. Your employer wants to see that they will receive a higher standard from you if they’re to promote you, so you have to prove that you can deliver.

6. Lack of persistence

Let’s be real. Employers don’t want employees who back away at the first sign of resistance. That’s why you have to make sure you explain your request and your reasons properly. It’s important that you don’t panic if you don’t get a positive response straight away. Some employers may choose to ‘test’ their employees, to see how they react. Some simply don’t have the time or availability to stay on top of your request. Rather than just letting it go, it’s important to gauge the situation and follow up on your request in a timely and appropriate manner. Avoid reacting emotionally or assuming the worst.

7. Not thinking about company goals

Only thinking about your own personal goals and ignoring the company’s goals can make you look self-centred. Ensuring that you know what’s going on with the business and what their goals and strategies are can help you to make the decision of when and how to ask for that promotion easier. If you see your company is expanding and thinking to add a new team, you could use that as an opportunity. Show that you’re looking to contribute to the success of the company.


What did you think to this advice? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

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