Applying for Promotions and Not Getting Them?

Moving from Corporate to Business

When I first started working in the Public Service, I was in a legal job in which the classifications were broadbanded. This meant that the first 7 classifications were banded together into one. It also meant that I didn’t have to do anything to get a promotion. All I had to do was do my job well, and I would progress up through the pay classifications.

Later in my career, I held jobs that didn’t have broadbanded classifications, and I had to apply for every promotion I received.

Because I had spent so long in jobs with broadbanded classifications, I had real trouble gaining promotions, and only got them by changing jobs.

In this post, I want to share with you the traps I fell into. Think of them as my “promotion pitfalls”. If you avoid these, you will have a much greater chance of gaining that promotion that you seek.

Wrong Motivation
In almost every case, I applied for promotions because I wanted the money. I didn’t really think too hard about the extra duties and responsibilities, and so didn’t prepare myself accordingly.

Thankfully though, I also wanted to learn and grow, but this was not my primary focus most of the time.

Poor Self-belief
Whenever I walked into an interview for a job at a higher level, hoping I would get the job, I never got it. But the two most successful job interviews I had were those in which I walked in with the attitude that the job was mine, and if I didn’t convince the panel
accordingly, it was my fault! I really believed that I was the best person for the job.

Unwillingness to Step Up
In the final years of my career, I had become very disillusioned with my job. I thought that I would be happier if I was earning more, so I applied for many promotions.

However, I didn’t realise that, in order to demonstrate my capability to do my job at a higher level, I had to actually step up and work at that level while still being paid at my current level. When I did come to that realisation, I was unwilling to do this, as I felt that I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Intentional Relationship Building
While I didn’t have bad relationships with my colleagues, I didn’t go out of my way to build relationships with, or add value to, others who weren’t my friends. One of John C Maxwell’s most often used quotes is: “people don’t care how much you know until they
know how much you care”. Perhaps if I had applied this to my relationships with all my colleagues, they may have been more willing to share advice and information that would have helped advance my career.

Underselling Myself
Another reason why I had difficulty in gaining promotions was that I often undersold myself in job applications and interviews. As I mentioned before, this was probably due to my mistaken belief that I didn’t have to work above my current level prior to promotion, which meant that I had no concrete examples that I could actually do the
I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Personal Growth
Like many people, I concentrated on growing my capabilities to do my job, and paid little attention to growing myself as a person.

Through personal growth, it is possible to increase many skills such as self-belief, self-awareness, leadership skills, and influence. If I had paid more attention to developing these skills, I have no doubt that I would have been more successful in applying for, and gaining promotions.

 

So, if you are seeking a promotion:

  • Make sure you are applying for the promotion because you want to do the job, not just because you want the money;
  • Build your belief in yourself that you really are the best person for the job;
  • Before applying for the promotion, do everything you can to demonstrate your ability to do the job;
  • Intentionally, and authentically, build good relationships with your colleagues at all levels;
  • Prepare, prepare prepare, and sell sell sell – go into the application process with your eyes open, and don’t leave the panel guessing about your abilities; and
  • Take every opportunity you can to grow yourself

Good luck!

 

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.