Passed Up for a Promotion: How to Bounce Back

Passed Up for a Promotion: How to Bounce Back - Style Nine to Five

It’s one of the worst feelings: you’ve nailed the interview, you’ve been working at a company for a long time, they want to promote you, and you know you’ve done great work since onboarding. Then, you hear back, and they’ve gone with another candidate for the promotion. Back to work you go, still in the same position you were before you got your hopes up.

Don’t stress—it happens to even the best employees. Here’s how you can bounce back after missing out on a promotion, and, of course, how to ensure that you land the next one.

1. Know It’s Not About You

There are a lot of factors that go into filling roles in a company, so don’t take the rejection to heart. It’s not always that you’re a bad candidate—the person who got chosen over you may have more experience or specific qualifications, or there may be additional occurrences behind the scenes that lead to the decision. Being rejected from any position isn’t a personal failure, so don’t treat it as such. It hurts, but pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and know that something better is on the horizon.

2. Seek Feedback

If you’re feeling up to it, speak to your managers about your performance. They may even be willing to tell you why you were passed on. Inquire about what you do well as an employee and what you could be doing better. Use this feedback to inform your work moving forward. Once your managers see that you’re capable of pushing yourself and doing better—and once you’re giving the performance they want to see—they’ll refer back to you for the next promotion. They’ll also be impressed that you took the initiative to ask for feedback, showing them that you genuinely care about improving and growing.

3. Push Yourself

Even though you didn’t get the promotion, you can dedicate yourself to giving an outstanding performance in your position. Extend your efforts even beyond the feedback you got. Take extra shifts, learn new skills, ask for extra assignments (as long as you have the room for them—don’t overwork yourself!) and, in general, show that the rejection didn’t decimate your dedication to your job. Once the next possibility for promotion comes around, your superiors will be impressed with how much you’ve improved and they’ll know that you can only go up from there.

4. Remember Your Relationships

Your job is more than just the responsibilities you’re given—don’t forget to foster positive relationships with everyone around you, especially your managers. You could be the ideal candidate for a promotion, but if you’re not a team player—or even if they simply have a better rapport with the other candidate—then there’s a chance you’ll be knocked down a peg. Make sure you’re not only being a helpful and informative employee and co-worker, but a kind one who wants to lift up those around them.

Rejection hurts, but it’s never the end of the world. There will be other promotions available in the future, and if you no longer want to work with this company, there will be more jobs out there, too. Most importantly, one of them is going to be the one you’ve been waiting for since the first step on your career journey. Focus on the future and keep moving forward!

Not sure what your next steps are? Book a Virtual Career Meeting with Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr!

Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.

Feature Image – Adobe Stock