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Promotion challenges

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Question: I have been employed in good standing with a great corporation for more than eight years.

Working in the administrative field has been my specialty for years, and I've worked my way into the position that I hold now: Receptionist/Clerk.

I have grown this position over four years to be much more than a receptionist; I'm more like an Administrative Assistant/Office Manager.

I strive for challenge, change and continuous learning. Over the past few years, I have applied for internal transfers and promotions, applying for nine different position in the past two years alone.

Each position was filled with another candidate. Why?

When I get the calls to let me know that I did not receive the jobs, the responses were along the lines of:  "You interview well. We like your personality. You were one of the top candidates. Your skill set was very desirable, but we did not think you would be a fit for the position."

Can someone give me some feedback to let me know what you think?  -- Anonymous


I would ask your HR department for more specific feedback about what you might do to make yourself more promotable. Could you take some computer classes, take on additional projects in a different area, assist another department (shows good "teamwork" mentality)?

If they are being honest when they tell you that you have done a great job with the interview process and are a finalist, that's great news! You might just have to be patient to find the right opening. It's possible, however, that you might be doing your current job so well that they want to keep you in that position, rather than promote you!

If you continue to apply for other positions but keep getting turned down, you might have to think about looking elsewhere for a job, or asking them to change your title/responsibility level to reflect what you are actually doing, hopefully with a pay raise. I think it's worth lobbying for, if you like the company you work for! I have worked at the same company for eleven years and have seen my job responsibilities change several times, although I have the same title as when I was hired. Luckily, though, they recognize all of the additional things that I have taken on and rewarded me accordingly.

When I go on interviews within the company, along with the "thank you for taking the time.." note, I ask them for feedback on my interview. Stating that I am trying to improve my interviewing skills. I have recd comments like "You didn't tell me you wanted the job". I told them they could send them to me anonymously, basically wanting the comments, not who they came from. The other thing you might do is if you have an HR person, talk with them and ask for candid feedback to improve your skills. It may be a little hard to hear some of it, but take it as a learning tool. Asking WHY will not get you answers necessarily, because people are afraid of wrongful lawsuits, etc. So approach it as feedback on your interviewing skills. Good Luck. If that doesn't help, go to another company, there are MANY great companies out there who DO appreciate you!!

I liked Lisa's comment that they may feel you are too valuable where you are (and at your present pay rate) to move you, but I am thinking about another young woman who was a marvellous person with a great personality and good skill set, but she just (oh how illegal and who would tell her?) lacked "polish." Her skirts were too short, the colors garish, her fashion sense years out of date, and when she laughed, it always sounded as though you'd told her a "dirty" joke. I mention this not as likely to be your situation, but because you say they don't feel you would "be a fit for the position." Examine the people who DID achieve what you want and see whether and in what way you might want to emulate them.

Excellent advice! I, too, am leaning towards (a)you have become so valuable in your present position that they don't want to lose you and/or (b) if the positions for which you are applying are "higher up the food chain", you may need to polish your professional image. As the unsigned comment suggested, pay closer attention to the attire and demeanor of those who are at the level you want to achieve.

I agree with the comments on asking for feedback and present yourself with a professional image above your level. In addition, a mentor may have a diffent insight that you haven't thought of.

Excellent advice. I would add to the other great comments to have an objective friend or co-worker critque you on your dress,mannerisms and how you respond to interview questions. You may not even realize that you "uuummm" every few minutes or you may fidgit or not look at the interviewer, your answers may seem very cookie cutter. You may give off the impression that the position is an opportunity for you and it is but interviewers don't want that impression they want someone whose only concern is how you can help them be better. What can you do to make them a better department how can you assist in making them a shine. its not what they can do for you but what you can do for them.

Good luck

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