How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

“How do I stop feeling so stuck?” I get that question a lot, and I’ve been there.

Stuck in my thoughts. Stuck at a job I no longer love. Stuck working on things that no longer excite me. Stuck in the mundane routine I called life. Stuck trying to figure out the next move. Just stuck.

It feels like a huge cloud is hanging over your head and the only thing you can think about is how stuck and unhappy you are.

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

“How do I stop feeling so stuck?”

I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know deep down you’re ready for a change in your career. You know you’re qualified to do the next thing, and you’re motivated to make it happen. But, you can’t seem to figure out how to get a move on it.

One minute you’re thinking about quitting, the next minute you’re wondering if you should just stay put. You’re applying and applying to jobs, but secretly you still feel like you can’t move past the invisible barrier in front of you.

I felt that way for four months before I finally decided to get serious about my job search; four months of feelingcomplacent, stagnant, sad, and envious of everyone else who seemed happier than me.

This Femtech Company Is Pioneering Mucus Engineering As A New Alternative To Hormonal Birth Control

Women Over 50 Are Having A Moment

Meet This Savvy Entrepreneur From Rhode Island

And, here’s the three-step process to get out of that funk more quickly:

Step 1: Declutter

“Stuck” is typically the surface level feeling hiding the true emotions you’re experiencing. If you want to get unstuck, the first step is to get to the root of what’s causing you to feel stuck.

For example, are you feeling afraid to change industries because you’re scared you may fail? Are you waiting for your boss to give you a promotion and it’s causing you to feel stuck? Are you feeling the pressure to get a new job as quickly as possible and it’s making you feel stuck because you don’t know what to do to make it happen fast enough? Are you feeling so overwhelmed by all the advice on what to do next that it’s making you feel stagnant and uncertain?

It’s easy to walk around saying, “I feel stuck,” because it doesn’t require you to do anything about it. But you have to be willing to ask yourself the hard questions so you can get clarity and address the real issue keeping you stuck.

Step 2: Decide

Once you get clear on the true lingering fears, problems or concerns, you have to decide what you’re going to do about it.

Clarity comes from action not thought. You can’t think your way into clarity, so if you’ve been waiting to magically wake up one morning and feel unstuck, it’s not going to happen. You have to make a decision.

For instance, one of my clients was feeling stuck because she felt like she didn’t know what she wanted to do next in her career. But, when we got to the bottom of her feelings, she realized she knew exactly what she wanted to do, but she was simply scared to end up in the same type of environment she wanted to leave. Once we got clear on that, she then had to determine the best type of company culture for her so that she could view her next career move from that decision rather than from her fear.

Or, if you’ve been feeling stuck because you’ve been waiting for your boss to give you a promotion, then you have to decide how long you’re willing to wait. Your decision could be to put yourself on a deadline: “I’m going to give my all to this position for the next 6 months and if I don’t receive a promotion by [specific date], I’m going to dedicate 100% to my job search.”

Regardless of the issue causing you to feel stuck, once you get clear on it, you have to decide on the strategy, solution or action you’re going to take to help you move forward.

Step 3: Trust the Process

Action results in feedback. Feedback results in clarity. Clarity results in confidence. So, once you decide to take smart action, you’ll gain more clarity and as you gain more clarity you’ll gain more confidence. That’s the process you have to trust.

Feedback could be as simple as how you feel after making a decision or the momentum that occurs after you’ve tried a new solution.

Keep in mind nothing happens overnight. You have to trust that baby steps are still steps and recognize that things happen gradually more often than they happen quickly. So if you’re willing to take the steps necessary to move forward, you have to also be willing to trust the process it will take to make the progress you desire.

Overall, getting unstuck in your career starts with you. You are always in control of your career and it’s your responsibility to change the course of your career if you’re stuck and unhappy. But first, you have to be willing to declutter, decide then trust the process.

Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.

“How do I stop feeling so stuck?” I get that question a lot, and I’ve been there.

Stuck in my thoughts. Stuck at a job I no longer love. Stuck working on things that no longer excite me. Stuck in the mundane routine I called life. Stuck trying to figure out the next move. Just stuck.

It feels like a huge cloud is hanging over your head and the only thing you can think about is how stuck and unhappy you are.

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

“How do I stop feeling so stuck?”

I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know deep down you’re ready for a change in your career. You know you’re qualified to do the next thing, and you’re motivated to make it happen. But, you can’t seem to figure out how to get a move on it.

One minute you’re thinking about quitting, the next minute you’re wondering if you should just stay put. You’re applying and applying to jobs, but secretly you still feel like you can’t move past the invisible barrier in front of you.

I felt that way for four months before I finally decided to get serious about my job search; four months of feelingcomplacent, stagnant, sad, and envious of everyone else who seemed happier than me.

This Femtech Company Is Pioneering Mucus Engineering As A New Alternative To Hormonal Birth Control

Women Over 50 Are Having A Moment

Meet This Savvy Entrepreneur From Rhode Island

And, here’s the three-step process to get out of that funk more quickly:

Step 1: Declutter

“Stuck” is typically the surface level feeling hiding the true emotions you’re experiencing. If you want to get unstuck, the first step is to get to the root of what’s causing you to feel stuck.

For example, are you feeling afraid to change industries because you’re scared you may fail? Are you waiting for your boss to give you a promotion and it’s causing you to feel stuck? Are you feeling the pressure to get a new job as quickly as possible and it’s making you feel stuck because you don’t know what to do to make it happen fast enough? Are you feeling so overwhelmed by all the advice on what to do next that it’s making you feel stagnant and uncertain?

It’s easy to walk around saying, “I feel stuck,” because it doesn’t require you to do anything about it. But you have to be willing to ask yourself the hard questions so you can get clarity and address the real issue keeping you stuck.

Step 2: Decide

Once you get clear on the true lingering fears, problems or concerns, you have to decide what you’re going to do about it.

Clarity comes from action not thought. You can’t think your way into clarity, so if you’ve been waiting to magically wake up one morning and feel unstuck, it’s not going to happen. You have to make a decision.

For instance, one of my clients was feeling stuck because she felt like she didn’t know what she wanted to do next in her career. But, when we got to the bottom of her feelings, she realized she knew exactly what she wanted to do, but she was simply scared to end up in the same type of environment she wanted to leave. Once we got clear on that, she then had to determine the best type of company culture for her so that she could view her next career move from that decision rather than from her fear.

Or, if you’ve been feeling stuck because you’ve been waiting for your boss to give you a promotion, then you have to decide how long you’re willing to wait. Your decision could be to put yourself on a deadline: “I’m going to give my all to this position for the next 6 months and if I don’t receive a promotion by [specific date], I’m going to dedicate 100% to my job search.”

Regardless of the issue causing you to feel stuck, once you get clear on it, you have to decide on the strategy, solution or action you’re going to take to help you move forward.

Step 3: Trust the Process

Action results in feedback. Feedback results in clarity. Clarity results in confidence. So, once you decide to take smart action, you’ll gain more clarity and as you gain more clarity you’ll gain more confidence. That’s the process you have to trust.

Feedback could be as simple as how you feel after making a decision or the momentum that occurs after you’ve tried a new solution.

Keep in mind nothing happens overnight. You have to trust that baby steps are still steps and recognize that things happen gradually more often than they happen quickly. So if you’re willing to take the steps necessary to move forward, you have to also be willing to trust the process it will take to make the progress you desire.

Overall, getting unstuck in your career starts with you. You are always in control of your career and it’s your responsibility to change the course of your career if you’re stuck and unhappy. But first, you have to be willing to declutter, decide then trust the process.

Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.

One hidden emotion could be messing you up.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Embarrassment?
  • Find a therapist near me

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

Many of us are quietly plagued by a nagging sense being flawed or defective. We secretly believe that we’re a failure, which stifles our energy, cramps our freedom, and prevents us from being ourselves.

Toxic shame is a painful emotion. In fact, so painful that may not even notice it. We steer our attention away from it, pretend it’s not there, or transfer it to others—showering shame upon them through our criticisms and judgments.

Shame is especially destructive when it operates secretly. Being mindful of the shame that lives inside us is the first step toward healing it and affirming ourselves more fully.

Here are some common ways that I’ve observed shame operating in many of my psychotherapy clients.

Being Defensive

Defensiveness is a way to protect ourselves from unpleasant feelings. Shame is often an emotion that we don’t allow ourselves to experience because it can be so debilitating. If our partner is upset because we’re late for dinner, we might react by saying, “Well, you were late for the movie yesterday because you took so long to get ready!”

Being defensive is a way to avoid taking responsibility for our behavior. If we equate responsibility with blame, then we’ll steer clear of it. We’ll attack people before they can criticize us. We transfer our shame to others by being aggressive and indignant when someone has the audacity to suggest that we’re not perfect.

If we’re not crippled by shame, we might recognize that our partner simply has feelings about our being late. It’s not that there’s something wrong with us. If there is something in us that feels shame for contributing to someone’s hurt or sadness, then we’ll get defensive rather than just hearing their feelings—and perhaps offering a heartfelt apology.

Perfectionism

The unrealistic desire to be perfect is often a defense against shame. If we’re perfect, then no one can criticize us; no one can shame us.

It’s been said that a perfectionist is someone who can’t stand making the same mistake once. We may be so shame-ridden, that we don’t allow ourselves to have human foibles. We keep up a front that looks good to the world. We may spend an inordinate amount of time attending to our dress and looks—or rehearsing what we want to say to avoid looking dumb.

It takes a lot of energy to attain the impossible feat of being perfect. The shame that drives the quest for perfection can exhaust us. Perfect people don’t exist in this world. Trying to be someone we’re not in order to avoid being shamed creates a disconnection from our authentic self.

Apologizing

Shame can prompt us to be overly apologetic and compliant. We assume that others are right and we’re wrong. Hoping to diffuse conflict, we’re quick to say “I’m sorry.” We withdraw from interpersonal encounters when shame has weakened our sense of self.

Conversely, a deep, unconscious shame may block us from saying, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, I made a mistake.” We may be so powerfully ruled by this hidden shame that we don’t want to expose ourselves to imagined ridicule. We equate human vulnerability with being weak and shameful.

Think of politicians who are so shame-ridden that they’d rather have a tooth pulled than admit to being wrong. They project an image of being flawless to cover up deep insecurity. They aggressively—and often mindlessly—push their agenda and rarely change their minds, which raises the question of whether they really have one. As Lewis Perelman wisely said, “Dogma is the sacrifice of wisdom to consistency.”

Secure and confident people can freely admit when they’ve been mistaken. They have an inner strength and resilience that derives from knowing that they’re not a perfect person. When they notice shame, they’re not ashamed of their shame. They know it takes courage to admit flaws.

Sociopaths are shameless. Healthy people can accommodate healthy shame. As we grow, we realize that there is nothing shameful about making a mistake or being wrong about something. There can be no inner freedom or growth without acknowledging our human shortcomings.

Our reasons for procrastinating may confound us. There are things we to want to accomplish and we’re baffled by why we keep putting things off.

Hidden shame often drives procrastination. If we consider doing an art project, writing an article, or pursuing a new job and it doesn’t turn out well, we might be paralyzed by shame. If we don’t even try, then we don’t have to face possible failure and shame.

Of course, we might then stay depressed or live life in a smaller way, but the part of us that dreads feeling shame is protected and safe—at least for now.

Uncovering shame gives us greater options. If we can allow it to be there, we can learn to bring gentleness and caring toward this feeling—or toward ourselves as we notice shame. We can realize that it’s natural to feel shame sometimes. As the author Kimon Nicolaides noted, “The sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them.”

Bringing shame into the light of day gives it an opportunity to heal. Keeping it hidden permits it to operate in secret, destructive ways. Becoming mindful of the shame that operates inside us—perhaps with the help of a therapist—can be a powerful way to bring this secretive emotion to light, diffuse its power, and help us move forward in our lives in a more free and empowered way.

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Dear Lifehacker,
I’ve been in my job for a long time now, I’m good at what I do, and I get great reviews from my boss and my coworkers, so when a senior-level opening appeared in our group, I figured I would get it when our boss picked the person for the job. He picked someone else, and I’m kind of angry about it. Should I be? Should I take this as a message and quit? How should I react?

Sincerely,
Ruffled Feathers

Dear Ruffled Feathers,
Being passed over for a promotion that you think you deserve is a tough thing in any job. It’s completely normal to be angry about it, especially if you’re in a position where you’ve been there the longest or you already have some informal seniority on your team. It’s okay to be miffed, seriously. That said, how you react is another story, and whether or not you’re justified is another question. Let’s break down why this might have happened, and what your best course of action should be.

It’s Okay to Be Angry, Just Watch How You React Openly

First things first: It’s okay to be angry and upset, especially if you know you deserved the job. Vent about it to someone you trust—preferably someone you don’t work with or who’s far removed from your job (you don’t want your venting to come around to bite you out of context.) You should definitely make sure to get it off your chest, preferably to someone who understands your professional pain, like a mentor or someone else in your professional network who can offer you some genuine feedback.

After you have that conversation though, hang your ego on the hook with your coat and go back to work like normal. There’s nothing for you to gain by moping around the office or being snarky or short with your colleagues—or the boss who passed you over. They probably already know if you’re miffed, or figured you would be upset when they made their decision. Don’t give them a reason to single you out, or to think that they were right all along. Keep on like normal, and make your moves quietly, discreetly, and professionally. Besides, no one likes an office whiner.

Not All Promotions are Good Things

Even though promotions at work are associated with higher pay and better career standing, not every promotion is a good thing. Being passed over could have been a blessing in disguise. For example, not every great engineer is destined to be a manager of engineers, nor would that be a good use of their skills. One thing I struggled with when I managed people was the idea that because someone is good at a thing doesn’t necessarily make them good at managing people who do it—it just makes them good at doing the thing they know all about. It also doesn’t necessarily make them a good leader.

Of course, a person’s career goals should be taken into account before deciding to promote them, along with what’s best for the team. People often forget that managing people is more than just being “the boss” and directing people’s work. You also have to care for their career goals, their growth, and spend time dealing with people and issues that may take you away from the actual job you used to be so good at doing.

Consider the car salesman who rakes in sales and has a good rapport with customers. He loves what he does, and he makes great money. He does so well he’s promoted to floor manager, and now he’s behind a desk approving financing requests, sending back counter-proposals to floor salesmen, and generally miserable. He’s likely to stumble professionally because he’s doing something he doesn’t enjoy and isn’t good at. Think about whether the job you were passed over actually fits with your career goals, or whether you wanted it because it represents seniority (or just more money.) If that’s confusing, think about why Captain Kirk never wanted to be an Admiral, and you’ll understand.

Talk To Your Boss, Openly and Honestly

If you have a good relationship with your boss, just ask them about their decision. Don’t approach it like “Why did [Joe] get the [Senior Basketweaver] position instead of me,” ask “I had hoped I’d be considered for the [Senior Basketweaver] opening. Is there a specific reason I was passed over for the job?” Ultimately, you want to know what your boss’s rationale for the decision was, in terms that matter to you, not to the other person. You’re looking for feedback you can grow from, and you don’t want to come off vindictive and jealous, as if you’re questioning their decision. Of course, you are, but you’re doing it diplomatically, and that makes all the difference.

Depending on what your boss says, you’ll learn a lot about where you stand. If they give you a bunch of wishy-washy answers, maybe there’s something else at play. Listen closely and read between the lines. If they’re clear, they should let you know that it came down to experience, seniority, tenure, or something else. Maybe they need you in the role you’re in because you’re just too good at it (again, a blessing or a curse,) or because they just don’t think you’d thrive in the senior position because of what it entails. Whatever their reason, try not to take it personally and think critically about it. Besides, if what you really wanted was seniority, or more money, it’s possible those things are available without taking a new job—you can always negotiate for more money , or other worthwhile perks .

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on what to do when you’re held back because you’re too good at your current job, but you may also want to check out this more recent discussion of how to find sponsors at work.

Have you ever been denied a promotion because you were too good at your current job? Reader N suspects she’s been held back because she’s too good, and wonders what she can do about it.

I just read your article “Getting the Work You Want” and I wanted to ask a follow up question. I’ve found myself in a position of getting passed over for moving into a complex litigation team, despite having openly expressed my interest, and my superior agreeing that I would be better used in that area. (I’ve had this reinforced by rave reviews for my senior attorneys and from fellow co-workers who I’ve helped out.)

From what I can tell, it seems that my superiors (and theirs) place more value in the fact that I can manage my workload and

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current positionsimultaneously back up three to four people at a time. I’ve backed up coworkers in the complex team, too, but as for moving up with them permanently… nothing.

So what’s a girl to do when I have spoken up and asked… and nothing happens? Have I shot myself in the foot by having quality and quantity? Should I just take the rave reviews and recommendations and look for work elsewhere? What should I do when I’m held back because I’m too good?

Fabulous question. There are a million reasons why people don’t get jobs and promotions — including not being right for them. That said, something I’ve seen happen is when a boss keeps a “good worker” in the trenches because his or her own life is made so much easier by the worker. The boss knows the job will get done, and done well. He or she doesn’t have to hire or train anyone new. It’s great! For the boss, that is. For the worker (which may be Reader N, here) you don’t grow at all — and your boss holds you back because you’re too good. For a particularly selfish boss, he or she may also try to restrain you from working with other people, give you lackluster reviews or recommendations to keep you with them, and maybe even talk down to you to make you question whether or not you “deserve” better than your current job. (Pictured: Held back, originally uploaded to Flickr by Matthew Wilkinson.)

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to be the master of your own career. You need to be the one constantly assessing where you are — and speaking up until you get to where you should be, even if that makes you feel pushy. If you do find yourself in a situation where a boss is holding you back, in my opinion, there isn’t much you can do about it beyond getting away from the the toxic personality. And if that means taking a new job, so be it.

However, I would give every boss the benefit of the doubt — once. For example, here, Reader N says “from what I can tell” — N, have you spoken to your superiors about why you didn’t get moved to the area you wanted? This is a 100% valid question. Approach it with a learning mindset — be as far from “entitled” as you can be. Frustrated is fine — exacerbated even — but be careful about crossing into “angry and emotional.” Sit down with your superiors, show the different ways that you made your preference known, the positive feedback you got, and then express your confusion over the lack of movement that followed. I’d also ask when you can next expect to be moved to your preferred area.

Once you have their official answer, look at it objectively. Maybe you were lacking a certain skill. Maybe Person X had more of the skills needed. Maybe they wanted to keep you in your current department until a particular big project finished. Maybe a more formal process is required for a move like the one you want. Whatever they say, try to make sense of it. It’s still fair for you to get angry, and it’s still fair for you to look for a new job — but it’s also fair to say “Oh, that’s what happened,” and then sit tight until the next window of opportunity arrives.

Readers, have you ever been held back because you were too good at your current job? What did you do about it? What is your general approach if you don’t get a promotion you’ve lobbied for?

Social media picture credit: Stencil.

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

About Kat

Kat Griffin is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Corporette. You can read more about her here.

Dear Lifehacker,
I’ve been in my job for a long time now, I’m good at what I do, and I get great reviews from my boss and my coworkers, so when a senior-level opening appeared in our group, I figured I would get it when our boss picked the person for the job. He picked someone else, and I’m kind of angry about it. Should I be? Should I take this as a message and quit? How should I react?

Sincerely,
Ruffled Feathers

Dear Ruffled Feathers,
Being passed over for a promotion that you think you deserve is a tough thing in any job. It’s completely normal to be angry about it, especially if you’re in a position where you’ve been there the longest or you already have some informal seniority on your team. It’s okay to be miffed, seriously. That said, how you react is another story, and whether or not you’re justified is another question. Let’s break down why this might have happened, and what your best course of action should be.

It’s Okay to Be Angry, Just Watch How You React Openly

First things first: It’s okay to be angry and upset, especially if you know you deserved the job. Vent about it to someone you trust—preferably someone you don’t work with or who’s far removed from your job (you don’t want your venting to come around to bite you out of context.) You should definitely make sure to get it off your chest, preferably to someone who understands your professional pain, like a mentor or someone else in your professional network who can offer you some genuine feedback.

After you have that conversation though, hang your ego on the hook with your coat and go back to work like normal. There’s nothing for you to gain by moping around the office or being snarky or short with your colleagues—or the boss who passed you over. They probably already know if you’re miffed, or figured you would be upset when they made their decision. Don’t give them a reason to single you out, or to think that they were right all along. Keep on like normal, and make your moves quietly, discreetly, and professionally. Besides, no one likes an office whiner.

Not All Promotions are Good Things

Even though promotions at work are associated with higher pay and better career standing, not every promotion is a good thing. Being passed over could have been a blessing in disguise. For example, not every great engineer is destined to be a manager of engineers, nor would that be a good use of their skills. One thing I struggled with when I managed people was the idea that because someone is good at a thing doesn’t necessarily make them good at managing people who do it—it just makes them good at doing the thing they know all about. It also doesn’t necessarily make them a good leader.

Of course, a person’s career goals should be taken into account before deciding to promote them, along with what’s best for the team. People often forget that managing people is more than just being “the boss” and directing people’s work. You also have to care for their career goals, their growth, and spend time dealing with people and issues that may take you away from the actual job you used to be so good at doing.

Consider the car salesman who rakes in sales and has a good rapport with customers. He loves what he does, and he makes great money. He does so well he’s promoted to floor manager, and now he’s behind a desk approving financing requests, sending back counter-proposals to floor salesmen, and generally miserable. He’s likely to stumble professionally because he’s doing something he doesn’t enjoy and isn’t good at. Think about whether the job you were passed over actually fits with your career goals, or whether you wanted it because it represents seniority (or just more money.) If that’s confusing, think about why Captain Kirk never wanted to be an Admiral, and you’ll understand.

Talk To Your Boss, Openly and Honestly

If you have a good relationship with your boss, just ask them about their decision. Don’t approach it like “Why did [Joe] get the [Senior Basketweaver] position instead of me,” ask “I had hoped I’d be considered for the [Senior Basketweaver] opening. Is there a specific reason I was passed over for the job?” Ultimately, you want to know what your boss’s rationale for the decision was, in terms that matter to you, not to the other person. You’re looking for feedback you can grow from, and you don’t want to come off vindictive and jealous, as if you’re questioning their decision. Of course, you are, but you’re doing it diplomatically, and that makes all the difference.

Depending on what your boss says, you’ll learn a lot about where you stand. If they give you a bunch of wishy-washy answers, maybe there’s something else at play. Listen closely and read between the lines. If they’re clear, they should let you know that it came down to experience, seniority, tenure, or something else. Maybe they need you in the role you’re in because you’re just too good at it (again, a blessing or a curse,) or because they just don’t think you’d thrive in the senior position because of what it entails. Whatever their reason, try not to take it personally and think critically about it. Besides, if what you really wanted was seniority, or more money, it’s possible those things are available without taking a new job—you can always negotiate for more money , or other worthwhile perks .

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

A promotion request letter is a letter written by an employee to senior management informing them of employee’s interest in getting a promotion to a higher position within the organization. The letter should highlight employee’s suitability for promotion to the position in consideration. It is therefore important to outline performance record and skills.

There are different problems that users may face when writing a promotion request letter. To start with, people tend to use the wrong template and format when writing a promotion request letter. Using the right format and template demonstrate competence and seriousness of the employee requesting for promotion. Secondly, the tone of the letter should be formal. Remember, you are addressing higher authority in the organization. Using a sample promotion request letter as a guide can make things clearer and easier.

As you prepare your letter, it is crucial to note that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects you from promotion discrimination in the US. If you believe you have been passed over for a promotion for a wrong reason, like your age, race, medical condition, or gender, you may be eligible for compensation.

When Should You Send a Promotion Request Letter?

The first consideration before sending a promotion request is whether there is an open position. After all, you cannot apply to fill a currently occupied position. It is also advisable to time your letter after having a one-on-one conversation with your manager about the following:

  • Your previous performance at the company
  • Your desire to advance in your current role
  • How your promotion may benefit the company

How to Write a Promotion Request Letter

Always begin a physical letter with the names, positions, contact information, and addresses of the sender and recipient. A Promotion Request Letter is typically sent to your supervisor or manager, but this may vary depending on company policy. Next, include a subject line and appropriate salutation, then work the following elements into your letter:

Request and Qualifications. Start the body of your letter by clearly indicating your reason for writing, that is, to request a promotion. You can then use the next few paragraphs to convince the reader that you deserve this role. For example, you can talk about your:

  • Work experience
  • Time spent at the company
  • Education and certifications that are relevant to the role
  • Most recent achievements
  • Loyalty to the company
  • Unique skill set

Transition Solutions. If you do get promoted, you will leave a vacancy in your current role. Use one short paragraph to offer solutions for the company in filling your role, such as through training someone.

Schedule a Meeting. In the last paragraph, thank the reader, restate your request, and mention that you are available for a physical interview. Close with your name, job title, and signature.

Letter Format

(Date when the letter was written)

Subject: Promotion request letter

Dear (Recipient name),

I would like to request for promotion to the position of (position in consideration). I have been in my current role for (number of years). I believe my experience, achievements and acquired skills make me the best person for promotion to (position).

I joined the organization 7 years ago as a (position) then I got promotion after 3 years to my current position. I have always worked hard with a promotion to this position in mind. 2 years ago, I requested my head of department to be my mentor to prepare me for a promotion to (position). I feel I am now ready for the transition.

I have successfully delivered in my current role. I was awarded the best employee in the team last year based on performance against peers. I have also acquired different skills in my current role that I believe have made me suitable for the position. These include (outline skills). I successfully undertook a project on (project) that greatly enhanced delivery of the department’s objectives last year. All these are some of the key skills needed to be (position).

If I get this promotion, I believe the company will greatly benefit from my experience and skills. I would also like to request for a face to face discussion where I can highlight my strengths further.

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

If you’ve ever gotten a promotion at work, you know how good it feels to be recognized for your all your efforts. A chorus of congratulations from your boss and colleagues can be incredibly inspiring. But as much as that experience can be uplifting, the opposite is true for a demotion at work. It can quickly depress and demoralize. And it happens much more often than people may think.

Nearly half of all human resources managers reported seeing employee demotions at their company, and more than 1 in 10 workers have been demoted at some point in their career, according to a new survey by staffing firm OfficeTeam. While a few of the demotions were voluntary or attributable to company restructuring, 39 percent were due to poor performance, and 38 percent were due to an employee who failed to meet expectations following a promotion.

More than 1 in 10 workers have been demoted at some point in their career.

In today’s market, companies are more likely to demote a poor performer than they are to fire a poor performer, explains OfficeTeam District President Brandi Britton. “Rather than firing someone, thus losing the knowledge base that they have, companies may prefer to keep the employee and just demote them to a role where they’re more likely to be successful.” Although the concept of taking a step back in your career may sound daunting, there are ways to both handle a demotion with grace and regain your upward trajectory. Here are the steps.

Read the tea leaves

Demotions generally don’t come out of the blue. There are often signs that your performance is not up to par, Britton explains. It could be that you failed to meet targets or quotas, that you had a breakdown in communication with your supervisor, or perhaps you received a formal warning. Pay attention to those signals — even if what you’re hearing makes you feel demoralized.

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It may be that on the day you’re demoted, you’ll need to take some time to reflect on your next move — don’t feel pressure to have a lengthy discussion with your boss right then and there, explains Morag Barrett, partner at Lead Star, an international leadership and executive development firm. But eventually you’ll need to find out where you were lacking in your performance, so look to schedule a follow-up meeting where you can go in with a list of prepared questions.

How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

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Make the choice

If you are demoted, you essentially have three choices, Barrett says. “You can choose to stay at the company and re-dedicate yourself to thriving in your role, you can stay at the company and become bitter and complain about how unfair it was that you were demoted, or you can leave the company and take your demotion as a signal that the organization wasn’t a good fit for you,” she says. But if you opt to stay and complain, your supervisors and colleagues will eventually start to view you as a toxic influence, and you may find yourself dismissed, she cautions. “The goal is that you handle it as gracefully as possible. You have to make a conscious choice to stay or go, but you can’t be half in and half out.”

If you decide to stay in your new (or old) position, you’ll want to discuss what steps you can take to improve, Britton says. “Ask what you need to do better. Create a path of action items that you need to accomplish,” she explains. “Most importantly, don’t perceive this as a bad thing that means your career is over — some people have been promoted prematurely in this economy and they just need more development.”

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How to work your way back

Rather than clamoring to try and get your old role back as quickly as possible (which could anger your manager), talk to him or her about what you can do to earn back their trust. In other words, acknowledge your mistakes and the fact that you have things to work on before you can get back to where you were, Britton says.

If your manager offers specific feedback on skills that you’re lacking, listen closely to the critique, Barrett suggests. “If you’re told that you need a skill you know you already possess, then figure out a way to better showcase that skill. Or, if you’re told you need to gain a skill that you don’t have, figure out how to acquire it.” If a training plan isn’t available in your role, then look to create one for yourself, Britton advises. “Oftentimes people are afraid to ask questions or admit that they need support, but you should never be afraid to admit what you don’t know. People respect leaders who don’t know everything,” she says.

One surprising thing about demotions is that they often follow on the heels of a promotion.

Setting yourself up for success

One surprising thing about demotions is that they often follow on the heels of a promotion. Employees who failed to live up to expectations of a new role sometimes find themselves right back where they started. With that in mind, it’s important to be especially vigilant about your performance following a title change, Barrett says. “First, go out for a drink and celebrate, then sit down and ask yourself, ‘How do I succeed?’ Don’t try to run before you can walk. Listen, ask questions and find out what’s working and what’s not in your department before you start making changes.”

Good communication with your manager — and really everyone upstream and downstream from you in the organization — is key, she says. After all, how will you know you’re on target if you aren’t communicating about what “good performance” really looks like? “Never be afraid to ask for more guidance,” Britton says. “Many people think ‘I’ll just wait to talk to my manager until they check in with me,’ but you should schedule regular meetings with your manager to discuss progress and performance.” In other words, the more often you can show that you’re being proactive and eager to learn, the better.

With Kathryn Tuggle

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How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

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How to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position

Picture this: You’ve got the next rung on the ladder in your sights, and you’re checking all the boxes: You regularly get to work on time, you reliably over-perform on your projects and you’re trying your hardest to act like a leader. You really want that promotion, but your patience is wearing thin .

And sooner or later you have to ask yourself these questions: Have the bosses even noticed that you’re obviously ready for the next level? That you’re the one for the job? Patiently waiting (and waiting and waiting) can be a good plan sometimes, but other times that promotion just isn’t ever going to happen.

If you yourself are having doubts about whether there’s a future with your current employer, take a look around at the road signs; they may indicate you’re walking down a dead-end street. Following are four of the most common indicators that it’s time to re-route your course and find a job with some upward mobility:

1. You get all the dirty work.

If you’re always the one who gets the scary, messy, boring and/or microscopically-detailed assignments in the office, that’s bad news for your future career. It means you’ve become a bit of a human garbage disposal, where none of your colleagues lift a finger to help because they know you’ll be willing to handle the unpleasant, little stuff. You’re busy, you’re extremely dedicated; but guess what?

You’re going nowhere.

Your boss can always rely on you to get things done and get them done right, so why on earth would he or she ever promote you? You do your job (and everyone else’s) too well, and you’ve become an irreplaceable assistant of sorts.

So, if it makes that boss’s job easier to have you right where you are, why change that scenario? Unless you yourself dramatically alter your working style, you’re staying put. To be promotable, you can’t be too irreplaceable.

2. Your desk is a desert island.

People come and go around you, projects are assigned, problems are discussed; but you feel like an outsider who’s just watching it all happen. You’re consistently out of the loop — the last one to hear about what’s going on in the office. You don’t get invited to meetings, you don’t get a part in the big project that’s got everyone else excited; and you barely even see the people in upper-level management.

When you try to contribute, your voice is never heard. You might as well be silent. Even getting a little recognition for your dedicated efforts seems to be impossible.

In the words of national workplace expert Lynn Taylor, “You move mountains for the company and the silence that follows is deafening.” It’s like a soundproof glass wall is separating you from the rest of the office.

This is bad news, because it means that you aren’t viewed as someone with value to offer the company. Maybe your boss dislikes you, maybe he or she just sees you as a desk-filler; but whatever the reason, rest assured that when promotion time comes, you won’t be on the list.

3. Your boss is hazy about career goals.

Maybe your boss has asked you about your professional goals before and never followed up or tried to help. Maybe he or she has never even asked. The crux of the matter is this: If your boss isn’t invested in your growth and development, you probably won’t be moving up any time soon — or ever.

Employers who are open to your progressing in their company know what kind of growth they want from you. They can define what you need to do in order to justify that new role (or pay raise) they might give you. They can paint a clear picture of your potential career path.

So, if they start hemming and hawing when you ask them what you can do to improve or advance in your career, the promotion odds aren’t in your favor. Your boss sees you only in your current role, and he or she sees you there forever.

4. The books aren’t balancing.

Maybe the problem is bigger than you and your boss! If your company has become stagnant or unprofitable, or is going under, the likelihood of your getting a promotion is pretty much nil, no matter how hard you’re working or how much your boss likes you.

Best-selling management author Suzy Welch recommends looking for clues that your company is on its last legs. Be wary if there’s an increase in high-level executive meetings (especially if HR is present). Look closely at any hint of secrecy, or projects postponed without any explanation.

Other potential signs that your company is on a downhill slide include lower work volume, limited (and closely monitored) budgets, low morale or cuts in employee perks. If your employer is about to go out of business (or cut your department), it’s best to get out early. Wait too long and you may have to compete with your former coworkers in the job search.

The reasons behind employers being unwilling to promote someone could fill a book, but the proper response to the situation always stays the same: If you want to progress in your career and your employer is showing no sign of intent to promote you (ever), it’s probably time to dust off that resume, give it a polish and start looking for a new job. After all, if the bosses aren’t going to help you progress, should you really be helping them do the same?