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Passed Over For Promotion. What To Do Next

You didn't get the promotion and you know you deserved it. What are you supposed to do now? In this post, I'm going to give you five steps that you need to take when you've been passed over for promotion.

Not getting the job that you want never feels good, I think it stings even more when it's promotion that you wanted. In fact, you might feel like drowning your sorrows in a gin (or five), eating all of the sugar, or quitting on the spot.

I'll admit, doing any of these can feel really good at the time, but they're not going to be productive for you getting the promotion that you really deserve. Luckily, I have five steps on what to do when you have been passed over for promotion to make sure that you're a shoo-in for the next one. And make sure that you read to the end of the post, because I have a special offer for you if you do.

Step one | Breathe

I know this sounds obvious, but especially in times of stress and anxiety, our brain literally needs oxygen. No, like seriously, this is science. So why don't we start right there. Let's all together, follow along with me.

Take a big breath in...

and out...

Okay, all of that breathing is going to activate our rational brain, which brings us into action mode, and brings us to step two.

Step two | You Have Not Missed Your Only Chance

One of the things that I hear most often from ambitious professionals who have been passed over for promotion is they feel like they missed their chance. And I know that it can feel like that, especially when you're in context and you really wanted that promotion and that specific opportunity.

But I can guarantee you that if you are an ambitious high potential professional, this is not your only chance.

In fact, not getting this promotion, might be a hidden opportunity.

Maybe you didn't get the promotion this go round, because you actually need to develop your skills a little bit more. And that's going to be what allows you to slay the day hundred percent from day one, when you do get that promotion. Or maybe it's even that there's a better opportunity that's waiting for you. And this one needed to go by so that you were still available for the next opportunity that comes that you're really meant to have.

I know promotions can feel like a once in a lifetime opportunities. But I assure you no matter what the circumstance, it's not. Not getting this promotion doesn't mean that your career is dead, or that you're going to rot away in your current role forever, it just means that it wasn't the opportunity for you.

Ultimately, it's just another obstacle for you to navigate around, and you're going to become stronger professionally as a direct result of it.

Step three | Get feedback

Now, when you were given the unfortunate news, it's very possible that you were given some feedback, especially how the selection was made, and why the successful candidate was chosen as compared to you. For example, maybe they had more experience managing teams, or they had more experience using a specific tool than you did. While this is helpful contextual information in that scenario it is not necessarily feedback that's going to help you get to the next level in the long run.

Let's say that you had interviewed to become the manager of the team that you're currently on and someone else's becoming a manager. Instead, let's just say that they're going to be in the role for 18 months, which is kind of what I expect for someone to be in a role in a tech company just to use as a benchmark. So if a comparison information is the only thing that you're going to base your career growth on in the next 18 months, what is actually new missing is that that piece of feedback might not actually be what's important in 18 months, or it might have just been one of the ways that they compared and contrasted you against another candidate. But it wasn't actually essential for success in the actual role in the long run.

If you didn't get feedback, or if that feedback didn't have the breadth and depth that you really need in order to roll it into your professional development and your career growth strategy. Go back to your manager, the hiring manager HR and ask for specific feedback. Ask them how to guarantee that you get the opportunity the next time that it comes open.

Step Four | Avoid Making any Rash Decisions

Or at least for right now, let's just be clear, not getting the promotion sucks. And you might feel really sad about this, you might be you're really angry about it.

No matter what you are feeling that feeling is completely valid. And you need to sit with that feeling and accept it for what it is, as part of the process of grieving the opportunity that wasn't.

However, what you don't need to do is make decisions based on the emotion that you're feeling right now, which is very temporary, which can actually hurt your overall chances of getting the next promotion that comes up. You do not want to act out of these emotions, at least not yet. I know it's super easy to be really angry, dust off your resume, and start applying to other jobs and start dreaming about handing in that resignation letter. And for now, you can daydream all that you want about marching into your boss's office telling him he's a jerk and saying I quit!

But don't live out that fantasy - yet.

Listen, quitting your job because you were passed over for promotion is a big decision. And it can be one of the best decisions that you make for your career. Or just as easily it can be one of the worst decisions that you make, you could end up regretting that if you move on and miss an opportunity that's actually right in front of you right now.

If this is something that you're actually thinking about, make sure you follow my blog, because next week I'm deep diving into this.

But what is important right now in this specific circumstance, at this moment in time, is that you don't make any decision based on emotion. You want to make your career decisions based off of sound strategy and logic, because that's how you're going to accelerate your career no matter what just happened to you.

So what I'm really saying is don't pull the plug just yet.

Step Five | Hire a Career Success Coach

Now, I acknowledge that this is full of bias because I am a career success coach. But really, this is what we're here for.

Ultimately, if you know that you're ready, and you know that you deserve that promotion and you've been passed over, that's a strong indicator that there is a flaw in the strategy you've employeed for your career growth. Working with a career success coach can also help get you the actual feedback that you need in order to guide you.

I would love to be able to tell you what questions to ask for the hiring manager, the manager or the HR representative. But the fact that there's three potential people that you might be asking feedback for is just one of the demonstrators that I can't actually help you over a blog post, there's no way for me to customize my advice and the best strategy to employ in a specific situation for you specifically... because I'm talking to everyone.

Look, ultimately working with a career success coach is going to help you move up and on from the situation. And it's going to be what allows you to take control of your career so that this doesn't happen again. Seriously, a good career success coach is going to save you world of headaches, and even years off of your path to the corner office (or whatever office it is that you want).

Now you have the five steps on what to do when you have been passed over for promotion.

But there's a catch. You can't do this if you don't have a deep and unbiased perspective of the mistakes that you're making that are actually holding you back. Which is exactly why I created a free download for you, a free guide. And it is called the Five Mistakes That are Holding You Back From Getting Your Promotion.

You can download it for FREE at

I'd love to know if you haven't passed over for promotion. Are you planning to stay put where you are? Are you actually starting to look around now?

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