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.

What Are My Options When I Lose My Job?

Moving from Corporate to Business

I remember the day I found out I may lose my job. I had to face this question when, in the week before Christmas, 2013, I found that I had not been successful in applying for the job that I had held for the past 7 years. Merry Christmas!

So, my remaining options were to accept a voluntary redundancy (VR), or wait out the 3 month redeployment period to see if a job could be found for me. The first option terrified me, as I felt that a Government job was my safest option, and besides, what would I do?

The second option also terrified me, as there was a job freeze on, and
opportunities to move between jobs came up rarely and had many applicants.

Just after Christmas, I was invited to a friend’s business launch. It was fun, and best of all, it got me thinking seriously about what I would do. As I listened to the presentation at the business launch, I began to wonder if Government employment was my only real option. Perhaps it wasn’t. Perhaps there were other viable options out there. It was as if someone had thrown me a lifeline.

So, off to google I went, and started researching the business my friend had started. When I got back to work, I immediately called my financial adviser and a career counsellor for appointments. I also enrolled in an online course on how to start a home-based business, in which I learnt a great deal, about all the different types of businesses, and their advantages, disadvantages and risks. I also did an enormous amount of research into many different types of businesses to see if they would suit my temperament and skills.

To cut a long story short, I decided to accept a VR and start the same type of business as my friend had. The startup costs for this business were lower than most, and so were the risks. The relief I felt once I had made the decision was amazing!

So, if you find yourself in a similar position to the one I described above, don’t just look at the obvious options – look outside the box.

This is your chance to continue doing what you’re doing, or to decide to change direction, and do something completely different.

Start by thinking about the things you love, and what makes you happy. Does your current job, or something similar, really make you happy? Does it make you feel fulfilled? If the answer is a resounding yes, then you only have to choose between redeployment and taking a VR and applying for a similar job later.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, think hard about what you would like to do. Have you ever dreamt about doing something different?

Firstly, take an inventory of your skills. What are you really good at? Then think back to what makes you happy, and what you love to do. You might like to engage a career counsellor or coach, like me, to help you do these things.

Next, do as much research as you can into different types of jobs that interest you. If you can, talk to people who do those jobs to find out what they are really like. Consider whether you will need retraining, or whether there will be any other startup costs.

This is your chance to find, and follow, your dreams. Make the most of it!

If you are interested in finding out more about my coaching services, or participating in my soon to be offered mastermind on John C Maxwell’s Book “Put Your Dream To the Test” please contact me.

Facing Redundancy – How Do I Keep My Job?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I gave my recommendations on the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy or job loss. My recommendation for this post is, whether you decide that you want to keep your job or go somewhere else, decide and act with your whole heart.

A couple of weeks after I had found out that the agency I had worked for for the past 7 years was going to get rid of half its legislative drafters by way of “spill and fill”, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job.

When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job.

So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart!

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

My Organisation Is Being Downsized, What Should I Do About Redundancy?

Moving from Corporate to Business

When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so shocked as I was on the day when we were all called into a meeting about restructure, and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.

Some people cried, and some talked quietly in the corridors. I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared.

Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage?

I honestly thought that, when I joined the Public Service, I would have a safe and secure job for the rest of my life. This is what my parents, and everyone else had told me when I was young. They even said that if my job disappeared for some reason, I’d be put on something called the “unattached list” and would stay there until I was found another job. Not so, in these current times, anyway.

Over the next few posts, I will write more about what happened to me, the decisions I made, and why, and will be offering my recommendations for dealing with redundancy and job loss.

My first recommendation: If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, or may lose your job, just know that you will get through it. It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s not. It’s just creaking ominously overhead, but you’ll be OK.

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