Career Advice

What to do if you missed out on a promotion

Regardless of where any of us are on our professional journey, encountering career setbacks is unfortunately something most of us will experience.

It can be both disappointing and frustrating and can impact our wellbeing, motivation and our vision for the future – sometimes quite disruptively. But it’s important to not let these negative experiences define your career path - or how you think about your future - by resetting your goals and identifying the route there.

Nevertheless if you find yourself in a position where you’ve missed out on a promotion, here are some options you can turn to that may ease the letdown and to help you move forwards.

Acknowledge how it made you feel

Missing out on a promotion (and the anticipated career and lifestyle benefits that it could have provided) will naturally feel like a blow. You’re not the first person to experience this, and you certainly won’t be the last. Allow yourself the disappointment and frustration, use it as a catalyst to make improvements or changes. Try not to linger in self-doubt as it will only undue what you have achieved so far.

Ask for feedback

Seeking constructive feedback from your line manager or colleagues regarding the promotion decision is a great way of identifying areas of growth and gaining further insight as to why you missed out this time around. When asking for feedback, remember to be specific, referring to pivotal moments that may have impacted the outcome. Identifying the answers to these questions can help you to improve further and develop your skills.

Take time to reflect

Reflecting objectively on your experience is a beneficial way of getting to the root of why you were not promoted. In addition to reviewing feedback, take time to self-reflect on your actions in the lead up to the event; is there anything that could have contributed towards the decision? Is this something that you were lacking support on or knowledge? Creating a list of actionable steps based off the feedback and your review is a great way of structuring your preparedness to flip the ‘no’ to ‘promoted’..

Dig in and stay put

Ultimately, life goes on, and until the next opportunity for a promotion raises its head, it may work to your advantage to dig in and stay put at your current role. After all, this could be a great chance for you to implement changes based on the feedback received so you can go one step closer towards the next promotion.

Make change

Take this opportunity to embed positive change, learn from the feedback given and consider your options. This could range from smaller scale to how you approach your work and stakeholders or something bigger like considering your options elsewhere. Setting new challenges can reignite motivations and pull you away from the negative of missing out on that promotion.

Remember, missing out on a promotion isn’t the end of the road, but more of a detour that leads to further development of skills, learning and opportunities If you’re considering your options, our specialist teams at Catalyst are well placed to give you tailored advice specific to your career ambitions, and can help you identify whether staying put or considering a move is the right step. Reach out to us today to discuss.

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