BLUF:I have had several hiring managers/interviewing mangers ask me why they should take a chance on me by offering me a position when I have been with my company for the past 12 years and have never been promoted to manager.
I have been with the same company since January 2001 when I started as a contract employee. In September of that year I was brought in as a FTE.
In 2003 I was moved to a different group (a promotion of sorts).
In 2006 I cross-trained into yet another group.
No pay increase for either of these moves.
In June 2011 I did receive a promotion but it was to a new position, one that was created specifically for me.

I have been interviewing for the past couple of years and this was first brought up by a hiring manager for my own company. He could not get past it.

This issue has come up with more frequency lately and I am not sure I have a good answer other than to show, on my resume, the increasing level of responsibilities I have at work and discuss those during the interview.
Staying where I am is not really an option.

My site manager told me, right after he first started 2 years ago, that the perception is that I am unpromotable at my current location because of errors I made when I first started here.

Any ideas or input is greatly appreciated.

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
Training Badge

Hi Mac,

Ask you supervisor or HR what is needed to get promoted.  Listen to their guidance and follow it.  Don't be defense and instead do what they recommend.  Perhaps you are missing some training or experience they would like to see.  Any good manager will let you know what it takes to get a promotion.

Good luck

mark_odell's picture

It's always going to be easier to get promoted in the same company, where you have (should have) significant good will built up.  To a new company you are a risk and if they have candidates that have previous experience you can't get past that.

Do as DTILLER suggests, and if you think you won't get promoted there cut your losses.  Find a new job at your current level elsewhere.  Deliver results and build relationships from day one.  Make yourself the best internal candidate for when the vacancy arises.


Chief Executive, Connect Support Services Ltd. - London based cloud & traditional IT services for SMEs -

Smacquarrie's picture

I have asked and he says that I am doing the right things. The problem is that most of the Leadership team has been in place longer than I have been with the company.
I acted in a manner that was viewed as unprofessional when I started here 12 years ago. I agree that it was and I have grown significantly over time.
I am now in a position to help the site achieve results in direct and indirect ways.
The problem is, as pointed out to me by the site manager, most of those who were here when I started 12 years ago feel unsure of me being promoted due to the way I conducted myself 12 years ago. I am working to get past this on a daily basis.

I am in the process of looking for new employment but am finding it very difficult.

Thanks for the feedback Mark and Dtiller.


TNoxtort's picture

 I was confused that you are interviewing, but someone from your own company noticed you had not been promoted. I think you should focus on how you frame your work in terms of increasing level of responsibility. Titles are titles, but they don't mean that much.

stenya's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Mac, if your behavior was so unprofessional / egregious that they've been holding it against you more than a DECADE after it happened, I don't understand why they didn't fire you on the spot. That didn't happen, though, and you've been making a professional contribution after that error... so it doesn't speak well of the long-time leaders who keep rubbing your nose in it. Twelve years is a long time to walk on eggshells.

From your original question, I'm not sure if you're getting pushback ONLY from internal hiring managers, or from new companies that are considering you for management positions. In either case, I encourage you to keep focusing on significant accomplishments that show your leadership experience and behavior - get the Interviewing Series if you haven't yet, because it'll definitely boost your enthusiasm for putting your best foot forward. :-) 

Good luck!

Smacquarrie's picture

Thank you all.
The pushback is from both internal (other sites) and outside companies who see my resume.
Nothing I had done was worthy of termination, rather the perception is that I had run "roughshod" over people to get different tasks done. I did.
In the past 5 years I went back to school and earned and AA and BS, became the site TPM leader, have led several projects and kaizen events, all in addition to becoming one the site trainers for the admin department and Site Training administrator. Last year I took on additional duties in material management and procurement.
It can get frustrating to know that the same people who call on me for assurance daily are the same ones who feel this way about me.

Everyone comments that my résumé is very impressive, thank you MT, but that there is concern over the lack of a promotion to management after so long.
The worst one for me was a manager within my own company who said that I had 95% of what he was looking for in a candidate. He just wasn't willing to take a risk on someone who had been at a site for as long as I have and wasn't promoted internally. He said that his perception was that I was tainted as he knew they had had openings but outside applicants were brought in instead.
I will keep plugging along. MT/CT and this community are what help me to get through the tough days.
I thank you all.


delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
Training Badge

If your current company will not promote you dispite your improvements and growth and you cannot get a management position elsewhere then why not try a non-manager lateral move to another company.  This will be a fresh start and you will prove yourself and get a promotion at the new firm.  No point in staying where you are if you are stalled and want a promotion.

Good luck, sounds tough.


Smacquarrie's picture

I am in the process of looking.
Much like the latest career cast, I need to evaluate each position I apply for.
Either they want certifications I don't have (and can't afford right now) or they want to pay about 1/2 of what I currently make.

Thanks for all of the ideas from everyone. I have one more round of hirings before I ramp up my outside looking.


dmb41carter36's picture

One thing I did was get the company to pay for certifications & education. Hopefully, your company could have such a policy. From company A, I received a certification in Six Sigma and the MBA. I gave them about 18 months and didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a promotion. I then took the credentials and landed a great job. I didn't burn many bridges either. At company A, they viewed my education and certifications as a good sign, that I was career oriented. I think it was also their way of throwing me a bone. Then, when I left, they knew they were going to lose me at some point and we parted ways  in a good way.

I would also consider seeing if can get some people to report to you. Perhaps your boss has 10 people working for her. You could consider making a case to have two people report to you. You'd do it for the same salary and benefits. It would be your trial run as a manager. This would allow the boss to benefit (two less people to worry about), the company to benefit (manager duties without pay increase), and you to benefit (experience). Another option is if your company has co-ops or interns. See if you can have a student report to you. You can offer to do the hiring & interviewing (with help from the boss). This is a low risk situation for the company (interns = cheap labor, transient) and big win for your in terms of experience.

In either event, good luck with your quest.

Smacquarrie's picture

I have the education and the company did pay for a small portion of it, but better that than nothing.

As far as having others report to me, my manager has exactly one DR - me.
He and I are in similar positions in that we manage larger projects and most of the other employees end up reporting to us at some point during different projects.
There is something that may be in the works - moving me to a previous team - but I am not sure if it will be in the team lead role or not.
The way the site is set up; there are only 7 people out of 156 that have DR's. Even team leads do not have any DR's.

Needless to say that with this type of structure o3's never really happen other than the annual review process.

I guess I was just voicing my frustration at what I perceive as a pretty lame excuse where none is really needed. I would much rather have them tell "thanks, but no thanks" instead of telling me that the lack of a title is the real reason for saying no.
I have been beaten out by much more qualified candidates and that drives me to be even better, but this answer is just disheartening.

As always, I will keep trying and working on my CMD/resume to try and develop something stunning.