5 Reasons You May Not Receive a Promotion

By: Megan Jones

If you feel like you deserve a promotion, or if you keep applying for a promotion and the
opportunity goes to another employee, you are not alone. If you experiencing either instance, it may be time to reflect on the possible reasons why you may have been rejected. Rejection is an important part of your career journey, and a very normal part of life. However, it is important to reflect on the potential possibilities that you received said rejection. When it comes to the working world, it can be very competitive, if you feel like opportunities are continuously passing you by, here are 5 reasons you may not receive a promotion.

Dealing with Rejection

Not every rejection is personal; you may be a very qualified candidate. The promotion may have gone to someone with more experience in that field. If you are an external candidate, an internal candidate may have been chosen because they have more experience with company culture and protocols. Rejection is normal and I believe it is a wonderful learning lesson and an important part of life that everyone should experience. It is important to also reflect and consider if there were other factors that could have contributed to rejection. If you are experiencing rejection, consider the reasons below. Above all take rejection as a learning lesson and stepping stone to finding the perfect promotional placement.

5 Reasons You Don’t Receive a Promotion
Too Independent

Many promotions lead to the possibility of becoming a manager. Managers have direct reports, and if you excel working independently, you may not be considered as strong of a candidate because being a manager may involve stronger collaboration and communication that you may not have developed yet.

You are Still Developing

You may be a strong candidate however, you may still be developing. Your managers may be looking for candidates with more experience to receive a promotion. Reflect on what the requirements are and the qualities they are looking for in a candidate. Some may have experience constraints such as 5+ years of experience, and you are still considered as developing in your role. Another factor may be communication skills, or knowledge in a certain database or software. Reflect on your level of confidence in each requirement or preferred skill.

You are Not the Only Candidate Being Considered

You may not be the only internal candidate being considered for the role. They may be looking at another colleague and the same level as you or another individual who may be interested from another department. There may be plenty of quality candidates that make it even more difficult for the hiring manager to make a decision.


There may be small things that you aren’t even aware of that affect your promotional reputation. Are you some who arrives late to work or meetings? Does you manager consistently have to remind you about the same things? Are you making careless mistakes? These may seem small however, they are important. These factors are considered by management when determining promotion.

You Excel in Your Role

You may be considered too valuable in your role! It may hurt the team if you moved into a new position. This situation can be more difficult to navigate, as you are worthy of a promotion. A good manager will will work to promote you and foster your growth. Moreover, if they are looking to keep you, they can expand your role and create a promotion for you.

Rejection is a tough pill to swallow, but it has the opportunity for growth. You can always discuss with your manager why you didn’t receive the promotion or ask if there are any areas of improvement you need to work on. We hope this provides you with some valuable reflection and when the next time a promotion is open we know you will be an even stronger candidate!   

Get in touch with us.

Prefer human contact? We do too. (925) 225-0400