The Professional Woman's Guide to Getting Promoted

5 (1 reviews total)
By Lauren M. Hug , Andrew H. Hug
    Advance your knowledge in tech with a Packt subscription

  • Instant online access to over 7,500+ books and videos
  • Constantly updated with 100+ new titles each month
  • Breadth and depth in over 1,000+ technologies

About this book

With insights drawn from experience by Lauren M. Hug, a professional woman, and straight-talk from Andrew H. Hug, a professional man, this one-of-a-kind book shows you how to develop key skills and craft strategic relationships that elevate your value in the business world.

Featuring worksheets, charts, exercises, and sample conversations, this unique book will help you create your personal career strategy and take customized steps towards advancement and success.

You'll learn how to communicate and demonstrate your workplace worth effectively, making your promotion not only likely—but vital to your organization.

Publication date:
September 2015


Chapter 1. Are You Promotable?

You probably opened this book looking for tips on how to get promoted, and you'll find plenty of specific strategies within these pages. However, before approaching your boss about a new position, you need to ask yourself: "Am I promotable?"

It's a tough question, and one that can be difficult to answer honestly. However, answering it thoroughly will give you a strong foundation for moving forward in your promotion quest. The answers will either guide you on the path to becoming more promotable or prepare you to present a compelling case for your advancement.

Are you doing an exceptional job fulfilling your current duties? Are your bosses aware of your talents and accomplishments? Do you have the skills or credentials you need to advance in your company? While men often overestimate their abilities and contributions, women often underestimate the importance of making their abilities and contributions known throughout their organization. Where do you have room for improvement?

It's time to take a hard look at your suitability for the job you want. This chapter will help you to:

  • Identify reasons you haven't been promoted yet

  • Determine whether you are currently qualified for the job you want

  • Understand what bosses look for when making promotion decisions

By the end of this chapter, you'll be able to articulate your strengths and be aware of any shortcomings you need to address to become the ideal candidate for the promotion you're seeking.


Why haven't you been promoted?

Watching co-workers climb the corporate ladder ahead of you or losing out on a promotion you thought you deserved can be frustrating. It may seem as though your bosses are oblivious to your abilities and contributions, and perhaps they are! Several studies show that women are less likely than men to tout their professional achievements. If your commitment and accomplishments are being overlooked, it's up to you to consider why. It's also important to be brutally honest with yourself about any shortcomings in your performance, experience, qualifications, or interactions. Figuring out why you haven't been promoted yet is a crucial step toward getting the promotion you want.

Let's take a look at some examples of workplace behaviors and identify common reasons people get passed over for a promotion. Which ones might be true of you?


Action Point

Highlight any reasons that appear relevant to your situation.

Didn't impress the boss

Ruth, Wahidah, and Marisa work in the same office. They all want to be promoted to the same position. Ruth does exactly what her job description dictates: nothing more, nothing less. Wahidah completes all her assigned tasks, actively looks for additional problems to solve, and routinely mentors other members of the team. Like Wahidah, Marisa is always finding ways to add value to the company. However, Marisa goes one step further. At the end of each week, she sends her manager a brief summary of her accomplishments along with a request for feedback and direction on any other projects or responsibilities her manager might need her to tackle. When it's time to make a promotion decision, who do you think the boss will choose?

Simply doing your job and doing it well is not enough to get you promoted. Unfortunately for Ruth, a promotion isn't a reward for doing the job you are paid to do. A promotion is an investment by the company in a person that provides exceptional value to the organization. Companies invest in those who go above and beyond their basic job requirements by finding innovative solutions to problems, helping others excel, and demonstrating valuable skills related to the company's vision and strategic objectives. The following questions are often asked when you are considered for a promotion:

  • How have you exceeded expectations in the workplace?

  • What problems have you solved for your boss, your team, or your company?

  • Who have you mentored, trained, or coached?

  • What skills do you have that set you apart from your peers?

If you can't easily answer these questions, chances are, you aren't doing anything extraordinary enough to convince your boss that you deserve a promotion. However, don't despair! Chapter 2, Be Promotable, is packed with suggestions for making yourself more promotable.

Having a million answers to these questions doesn't automatically mean you'll impress your boss either. Letting your boss know about your achievements is critical when seeking a promotion. A study by Catalyst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for women, found that professional women who proactively communicate their accomplishments advance faster and achieve greater compensation growth than women who are less focused on pointing out their contributions. In our example, Wahidah is proactive about adding value to the company, but she isn't proactive about making her contributions known to her supervisors. The promotion will go to Marisa, the employee who goes the extra mile and communicates with her boss about her activities.

When was the last time you updated your boss on your activities and accomplishments? Chapter 3, Promote Yourself, will help you make your achievements known throughout your organization.

Didn't take initiative

Taking initiative is a necessary step toward impressing your boss and putting you on the path to promotion. In the preceding example, both Wahidah and Marisa anticipate their manager's needs and perform necessary tasks without being told. While Marisa is more strategic than Wahidah about making sure their boss is aware of her contributions, it's possible that Wahidah's extraordinary contributions will be noticed by her manager regardless of whether she sends weekly updates. Ruth, however, will never get promoted by doing only those things in her job description and always waiting to be given additional instructions.

Do you anticipate what needs to be done before your boss has to ask? Is your manager consistently giving you detailed instructions and micromanaging you? Micromanaging may be a failure of your manager, but it could also signify a lack of trust in your abilities. If your boss does not see you as capable of handling tasks on your own, your boss certainly doesn't view you as promotable.

Didn't lead or develop others

Promotions typically involve increased management responsibilities. Therefore, it is important your boss knows you are capable of mentoring, training, motivating, and supervising others. In the preceding example, Wahidah and Marisa exhibit leadership skills when they mentor others and encourage them to be even more productive members of the team. Ruth, on the other hand, doesn't have much interaction with her co-workers. She keeps to herself as she checks tasks off her job responsibilities list.

Are you more like Wahidah and Marisa, or more like Ruth? Do co-workers turn to you for professional advice and help with projects, or are you the one who frequently needs help meeting deadlines and getting basic tasks done? Do you keep to yourself, accomplishing your duties with little to no interaction with other team members? Do you get along well with others, or do you tend to have conflicts in your workplace?

A strong leader doesn't need help from others to meet their job requirements. Nor does a leader always go it alone. A leader finds opportunities to empower others, bringing out strengths, addressing weaknesses, and enabling team members to add even more value to the organization.

Didn't look or act the part

Let's assume for a moment that you've impressed your boss, taken initiative, and demonstrated leadership skills. What could possibly be another reason you haven't been promoted?

On paper, Wahidah and Marisa are nearly identical candidates for a promotion, but they present themselves differently in person. Marisa takes her clothing cues from senior management, opting to dress more formally even on "dress-down Fridays". She exudes professionalism in the way she speaks, works, and interacts with colleagues. Wahidah, on the other hand, is much more casual. She wears jeans most days, enjoys chummy relationships with her co-workers, and prefers to work from a reclining position with her feet up on her desk. Who do you think will get the promotion?

The way you present yourself has tremendous impact on how your supervisors view your promotability. Decision-makers need to see you as "management material." Clothes or conduct that doesn't comport with expected standards, send the message that you are not professional enough, or ready for advancement. Do you dress business casual when everyone else is wearing suits. Do you have noticeable piercings or tattoos? This may not matter if you are working for an Internet start-up in San Francisco, but if you work for a financial institution in Dallas, it could be a deal-breaker. These standards aren't always written in an employee handbook, but observing upper management will give you a good idea of the behavior and attire of those who earn promotions in your organization.

You may never be told that you aren't meeting company expectations regarding professionalism, but failing to meet those expectations can have a profound effect on whether you are perceived as promotable. What do your clothes and attitude say about you? Do you look and act like people in the position you would like to have? Chapter 2, Be Promotable, provides several tips and strategies for presenting yourself as management material.

Didn't ask

Despite all the differences between the ways Ruth, Wahidah, and Marisa perform their duties, communicate with their manager, and present themselves in the office, what would happen if Ruth was the only one to ask their manager for the promotion? Even though she is less qualified than Marisa or Wahidah, the simple act of asking might win Ruth the job. Managers aren't mind readers. In the absence of a request for promotion from Wahidah and Marisa, the manager may assume they are happy in their current position and not interested in advancement.

Occasionally, a boss will single out a hard-working and deserving employee and award a promotion on his or her own initiative. However, these types of promotions are an exception. Waiting patiently for your turn to get promoted is a recipe for being passed over time and time again. Fortunately, Chapter 5, Ask for the Promotion, of this book is entirely devoted to getting you ready to ask for the promotion you want.


Now that we've discussed several common reasons people get passed over for a promotion, it's time to consider which ones might apply to you. This Promotability Self-Assessment Quiz will help you identify areas where your promotability could use a boost.

Read each of the following statements, then rate your agreement by circling the appropriate number: 1 (strongly disagree), 2 (disagree), 3 (neither agree nor disagree), 4 (agree), 5 (strongly agree).

Promotability Self-assessment Quiz

I fulfill all my assigned duties without needing help from others

1 2 3 4 5

My boss trusts me with complex assignments

1 2 3 4 5

I exceed expectations by going above and beyond my assigned duties

1 2 3 4 5

I have special skills and abilities my co-workers don't have

1 2 3 4 5

I invest in my ongoing education and skill development

1 2 3 4 5

I tell my boss about my accomplishments and contributions

1 2 3 4 5

I ask for increased responsibility

1 2 3 4 5

I anticipate my boss's needs before being asked

1 2 3 4 5

My boss does not feel the need to micromanage me

1 2 3 4 5

Co-workers seek my advice, expertise, and assistance

1 2 3 4 5

I work well with others

1 2 3 4 5

I excel at mentoring and supervising others

1 2 3 4 5

I am good at motivating co-workers to give their all

1 2 3 4 5

I wear clothes that are similar to my boss or other senior management

1 2 3 4 5

I am well groomed

1 2 3 4 5

I sound professional when I speak

1 2 3 4 5

My writing is professional and grammatically correct

1 2 3 4 5

I maintain professional relationships with co-workers

1 2 3 4 5

I am aware of my organization's strategic objectives

1 2 3 4 5

I pursue projects and goals that further the organization's objectives

1 2 3 4 5

I have no hesitation about asking my boss for a promotion

1 2 3 4 5

After you've circled your own ratings for each statement, think about the quiz from the perspective of a manager rating your performance. For example, would your boss agree or disagree that you fulfill all your assigned duties without needing help?


Action Point

Re-take the quiz from your manager's perspective. Using a different color, circle the ratings you think your boss would give you.

Do you think your manager's perception of your promotability is significantly different than your own? If so, you may want to seek additional feedback by asking a trusted colleague to rate you using this quiz. Compare their answers to your own, as well as to the answers you think your boss would give. Being objective about your own abilities and performance can be very difficult. Seeing how other people perceive you may give you valuable information about impediments to your promotion.

Anything rated 3 or below represents an area ripe for improvement. However, to really boost your fitness for a promotion, you should be aiming for a 5 on every statement.


Action Point

Based on the Promotability Self-assessment Quiz and the reasons discussed earlier in this chapter, make a list of every possible reason you haven't been promoted yet. Be specific.

Given your knowledge of your workplace, your boss, and the position you are seeking, what are the areas of improvement that merit the most attention? Identify the five key reasons you haven't been promoted yet and record them in the Boost My Promotability worksheet shown as follows. Transform the reasons into action statements. For example, if the reason is "I don't dress professionally", the action statement should be "Build a professional wardrobe."

Armed with these key reasons why you probably haven't been promoted yet along with the action items for addressing them, you can begin positioning yourself for a promotion today! In-depth strategies for making yourself more promotable will be discussed in Chapter 2, Be Promotable.


Are you qualified?

There is one more major obstacle to getting promoted that we haven't discussed: not meeting the criteria. No matter how much you impress your boss, take initiative, lead others, look and act the part, and persuasively ask for a promotion, it won't ever be enough to override company policy regarding the credentials, skills, and experience required for a position. If you don't meet each and every non-negotiable requirement, you won't get promoted. It's harsh, but it's that simple.

Tina works for a large financial services company. She has always been an ideal employee, fulfilling all her duties quickly and accurately, taking on additional projects, training and mentoring new team members, and receiving glowing performance reviews on every evaluation. Because of her stellar track record, Tina is her manager's top choice for a new position. She interviews with several key stakeholders, all of whom are highly impressed with Tina's expertise and commitment. However, company policy dictates that any person holding the position must have a Bachelor's degree. Tina is 21 hours short of completing her degree. The position goes to a person who hasn't been with the company as long and who hasn't demonstrated the same abilities as Tina. However, the person meets the degree requirement.

As unfair as it may seem, this happens every day… especially in large corporations with stringent hiring policies. If the position you want requires a credential you don't have, you'll have to determine whether there is any flexibility regarding the requirement. If the requirement is non-negotiable, you'll either have to find a way to meet it or turn your attention to a position that doesn't require that specific credential.

What are the job requirements?

If you scored mostly 4s or above on the Promotability Self-assessment Quiz in the previous section, the primary reason you haven't been promoted yet may be because you don't meet the criteria for the position you are seeking. Assessing the job requirements and how you measure up will give you a clear picture of whether you are qualified or not. You need to consider each and every stated job requirement, as well as any unspoken requirements the hiring committee expects successful candidates to meet.

When trying to determine whether you meet the criteria, every requirement matters. Don't dismiss or ignore requirements you think are trivial. One extra month of experience, one extra training course, or one certification may be the exact thing standing in the way of your promotion. This section will help you identify what you need to accomplish to be qualified for the job you want, providing you with clear, achievable goals.

So how do you assess whether you have the requisite qualifications? Start by looking at the job posting or job description for the position. In larger institutions, you will likely have access to a Human Resources officer who can quickly inform you of the required qualifications and provide insight into the qualities the company honors. In smaller companies, determining the exact job requirements can be more difficult. Hopefully, there is a written job description, but your best source of information will most likely be your boss or members of senior management.

Other excellent resources include those in the organization who have been promoted to positions similar to the one you want, as well as your immediate supervisor or other decision-makers within the company. Don't be afraid to speak with and interview these people.

Some professional women find it daunting to ask a manager or other key stakeholders about the requirements for a new position. They worry that it will make them look aggressive or perhaps unsatisfied with their current job. However, there is nothing wrong with letting your decision-makers know about your interests and your ambitions. In fact, making decision-makers aware of your long-term interest in the company and your desire to add value by taking on increased responsibility and authority is a key step in convincing them to become invested in your professional success. When talking with decision-makers about the requirements of a position, be sure to focus on the company's needs and vision instead of on your quest for promotion. This approach brings your ambition to their attention while highlighting your commitment to the best interests of the organization. Additional ways of incentivizing key stakeholders to invest in you professionally will be covered in Chapter 4, Win over Decision-makers.

To make the information-seeking process less intimidating, we've compiled a list of insightful questions to ask your mentor, manager, other decision-makers, or those who occupy a position similar to the one you'd like to have.



  • What kind of person does the company need in this role? What kind of person has added the most value in the past? What kind of person do you think will be the best fit for this role?

  • How many years of experience do successful candidates usually have? What is the least amount of experience that has been accepted for this position? What special qualities did that candidate possess in lieu of experience? Are some kinds of experience more beneficial to the company than others?

  • How many years of managerial experience have most successful candidates had? What constitutes "managerial experience"?

  • What level of education have most successful candidates had? What is the lowest level of education that has been accepted for this position? What special qualities did that candidate possess in lieu of a higher level of education?

  • What courses of study have proven to be the most valuable for this position? Why?

  • What special skills would be valuable in this position? Does the position require any certifications or licenses?

  • How long have most successful candidates for this position been with the company? How long were they in their pre-promotion position? Is the amount of time a candidate has been with the company an important factor in making decisions about promotions?

  • Under what circumstances, if any, would an exception be made if a candidate didn't meet all the requirements?

Getting answers to these questions will give you a good sense of the type of candidate that the company is seeking. More importantly, it helps you understand what the hiring committee will be looking for in you. For example, some companies reward loyalty by giving greater weight to candidates who have been with the company longer or want their employees to have accumulated a certain amount of time in their current role before being considered for higher positions. In a company like that, it may simply be a matter of time before you'll be considered a viable candidate for a promotion.

Let's look at another example. If ninety percent of those promoted within the company have a master's degree and the other ten percent have a bachelor's degree, you can tell that having some degree is a non-negotiable requirement. However, candidates with a master's degree are clearly preferred. Having only a bachelor's degree shouldn't prevent you from pursuing the position, but you must recognize that you will have to be an exceptional candidate in other areas to overcome the lack of a master's degree. You'll need to be ready to explain why you are the best candidate despite not having the preferred level of education. Understanding this dynamic may also mean that you will need to go back to school to further your career. You'll have to consider what steps you are willing to take in order to meet the requirements of the position.

Conversations with key decision-makers will also help you determine instances where the unwritten requirements are more stringent than those set forth in the job description. Sometimes a job description calls for five years of experience, but no one with less than 7 years of experience ever makes it to the interview stage. Seeking out this type of "inside" information will help you accurately assess your fitness for the promotion you seek. Understanding the real requirements will prevent you from getting discouraged by seemingly arbitrary decisions and enable you to successfully transform yourself into the ideal candidate for the promotion you seek.

As you uncover the job requirements, both written and unwritten, plug them into the following Job Requirement Worksheet. It is designed to help you compare your resume to the requirements of the position you want. For each requirement, indicate whether you meet it or not. Then, consider ways you could go meeting requirements you currently lack.

In the last column, record any steps you'd like to take in order to become more promotable. We'll return to those steps when we discuss the topic of becoming promotable more thoroughly in Chapter 2, Be Promotable.

While it's important to be aware of how well you fit each and every requirement, don't get discouraged if you don't perfectly meet every one. Very few job candidates are perfectly qualified for a position. Unless a requirement is non-negotiable (levels of education and required certificates and licenses are the most likely to be set in stone), employers look at candidates as a whole. If you are reasonably close to meeting the requirements, exceptional experience in one area may compensate for a lack of expertise in another. This will largely be due to a combination of what the company values most in its employees and the candidates that end up applying for the position.

For example, the job description may call for a PhD, but if no one with a PhD applies, the company may be forced to drop the requirement. If the job description calls for five years of experience with at least two years of managerial experience, the company may be willing to consider someone with four years of experience, three of which were in a management position. Or perhaps you don't have any formal management experience. Do you have other experience that demonstrates your ability to manage people? The hiring committee may be willing to accept it. As discussed earlier, conversations with decision-makers and other key stakeholders will help you develop a strong sense of which requirements are flexible and which ones are not.

Now that you know how well you match up with the requirements for the position, you can design a strategy to address any gaps in an application or interview and begin working toward meeting any requirements that are non-negotiable.


Promotable qualities

Thus far, we've explored reasons people get passed over for promotion and identified the ones that apply to your situation. We've also discussed the importance of evaluating your qualifications in light of the job description for the position you want. Now, let's take a look at promotable qualities generally—the kind of qualities that make bosses take notice, help them identify ideal candidates for promotion, and assist them in looking beyond the basic qualifications to find the right fit for a position.

These qualities are harder to define and certainly harder to quantify than the qualifications listed in a standard job description. Preferred qualities vary from boss to boss, but we've interviewed dozens of managers tasked with making hiring decisions and reviewed hundreds of articles about promotability (many of which will be directly referenced throughout this book) to develop a list of qualities that employers value. How many of the qualities listed below apply to you? How many would your boss or co-workers use to describe you?



  • Good communicator

  • Team player

  • Strong leader

  • Self-directed / Self-motivated

  • Strong work ethic

  • Adaptable

  • Professional

  • Accountable/Responsible

  • Understands organizational brand, values, mission, and goals

  • Optimistic

Let's take a closer look at each of these qualities as follows. As we do that, consider which ones you demonstrate and which ones you need to work on. The more qualities you demonstrate, the more promotable you become.


Action Point

Highlight the qualities you think you lack.

  • Good communicator: Communication skills top the list of qualities employers look for when deciding who to promote. Company leaders are called upon to give presentations, write persuasively, and engage people on a daily basis. Because good communication skills are rare—studies have shown that most people suffer from a fear of public speaking to some degree or another—those who can communicate effectively have a big advantage when being evaluated for a promotion. Do you freeze up every time you are asked to give a presentation? Or are communication skills one of your strengths?

  • Team player: Companies value employees who demonstrate a commitment to project, team, or company success. Volunteering to help others and giving appropriate credit for their contributions to your own projects will be noted as a positive characteristic by your boss. Decision-makers also look for people with good interpersonal relationships within the company. The ability to work well with others is an important quality for rising leaders in an organization. Are you respected and valued by your boss and co-workers? What qualities do you have that make you an asset to your team?

  • Strong leader: While bosses value team players, they expect promotion-worthy employees to be able to lead a team as well. As discussed earlier in the chapter, lack of leadership skills is a key reason people don't get promoted. On the other hand, bosses sit up and take notice of employees who routinely demonstrate an ability to lead, mentor, train, and motivate co-workers. Are you respected by your peers and superiors? Do you often take charge of projects or are you simply assigned tasks?

  • Self-directed/Self-motivated: High-level positions require independent thinking and action. Bosses are always looking for employees who can identify potential problems before they develop and do what is needed before being asked. Do you have a tendency to wait for tasks to be assigned? Are you thinking long-term or do you wait for the problems to arise before dealing with them?

  • Strong work ethic: High-level managers are required to go the extra mile to ensure a project gets completed. Bosses pay attention to which employees are out the door the minute the clock hits 5 p.m. and which ones are willing to stay until all final details are wrapped up. Are you giving 110 percent, or are you more interested in working the minimum number of hours required?

  • Adaptable: Higher-level jobs have higher levels of complexity, uncertainty, and stress. When evaluating candidates for a promotion, bosses take into account the way the candidates respond to challenges, extra duties, and changes in expectations.

    Do you exhibit frustration when assigned a task beyond the scope of your normal duties, or do you embrace the challenge? Can you meet a deadline or complete a task when circumstances are less than ideal? When things go wrong, are you the one who panics, or are you the one who picks up the pieces? Promotions go to problem-solvers.

  • Professional: The importance of looking and behaving like a professional cannot be overstated. As we saw earlier in this chapter, lack of professionalism is a key reason people get passed over for a promotion. The opposite is true as well. Employees who exude professionalism find themselves at the top of their manager's list for promotion. Do you dress, speak, write, or act more or less professionally than your co-workers?

  • Accountable/Responsible: A good manager takes responsibility for any failures that occur on their watch. Instead of wasting time trying to place the blame either downhill (to subordinates) or uphill (to supervisors), good managers admit fault and immediately search for a way to rectify the situation. Bosses promote employees who demonstrate that kind of accountability and commitment to getting the job done. What is your response when you fail to meet expectations?

  • Understands organizational brand/values/mission/goals: Every company has a unique identity and corporate culture. Bosses notice employees who embrace the brand by being active and positive participants in spirit days, company picnics, and other brand-building activities. Decision-makers also appreciate employees who know the company's goals, both short- and long-term, and demonstrate a commitment to helping the company achieve those goals. Are you well versed in your organization's mission, vision, and values? Do you understand how your role fits into the bigger corporate picture and how you can be of even greater value to achieving company goals?

  • Optimistic: Many bosses prefer to hire based on attitude instead of skills. These bosses recognize that employees with positive attitudes embrace company culture, excel as team players, enthusiastically tackle a wide variety of tasks, and are more adaptable. People with negative attitudes, on the other hand, are unpleasant to work with and drag down the productivity of the entire team. Are you an optimistic, positive employee?

As you can see, qualifications aren't the only things that matter when decision-makers are evaluating candidates for a promotion. Intangible qualities play a large role in convincing your boss that you are promotion-worthy. Strive to embody as many of these intangible qualities as possible.


A professional man's perspective

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Andrew Hug and I am a co-author of this book. My wife, Lauren, and I have written this book to help professional women like you, gain a better understanding of how to get promoted. Our hope is that by addressing many of the issues that professional women face, you will be empowered to be proactive in pursuing your dream job.

To help you better understand the way your male colleagues approach the path to promotion, most chapters will include a section at the end where I will discuss the different ways men tend to process the questions and concepts discussed in the chapter.


Make a note

Our goal and our hope is that, by identifying and discussing the differences in how men and women assess, interact, and respond to similar situations, we can eliminate many of the frustrations professional women often encounter when pursuing a promotion.

Of course, when we address the differences between men and women, we are only speaking in very general terms. We do not mean to imply that all men or all women act in a certain way. We are not trying to reinforce gender stereotypes. The professional man's perspective is based on general patterns of experiences and attitudes that I have observed and been privy to in the workplace. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule.

The title of this chapter is Are You Promotable? As a professional woman, you probably spent a fair amount of time analyzing and contemplating this question before you even opened this book. Throughout the chapter we have helped you answer this question by providing several self-assessment tools designed to equip you with a better understanding of what your boss and your company is looking for and how well you fit their expectations.

Now, how would I (and most men) answer the same question? Yes.

That's it? Just "Yes"?

That's all. In fact, most of us would read the title of this chapter and skip straight to the next chapter. Men rarely suffer from self-doubt or question their worthiness for a promotion. We also tend to spend far less time conducting self-assessments and are generally less self-critical than women. Most professional men just assume they are promotable. If we are passed over for promotion, we will look to external explanations, asking what is wrong with the decision-makers or the process itself, rather than conducting a thorough evaluation of our own suitability for the position.

This lack of self-reflection proves to be an advantage to men in one key way. Because we automatically believe ourselves worthy of being promoted, we are willing to seek a promotion more quickly, we present our abilities and qualifications more confidently, and, as a result, we are more likely to be promoted sooner.

As a professional woman, however, thorough evaluation of your promotability gives you an advantage over less self-reflective colleagues. It prepares you to clearly articulate your strengths when seeking a promotion and it empowers you to become the ideal candidate by tailoring your qualifications, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to fit the position you want.



In this chapter, you have:

  • Identified key reasons you may have been passed over for promotion

  • Assessed your general promotability

  • Identified the written and unwritten requirements for the position you want

  • Determined whether your qualifications match the requirements for the promotion you are seeking

  • Identified ways to close the gap between your qualifications and the requirements for the position you want

  • Looked at qualities that bosses value in candidates for a promotion

  • Considered which valued qualities you currently demonstrate

  • Explored the differences between the way men and women assess their promotability

In the next chapter, we'll discuss how to become more promotable by transforming yourself into the ideal candidate for the position you want.

About the Authors

  • Lauren M. Hug

    Lauren M. Hug, founder of HugSpeak Coaching & Consulting, has helped people present themselves and their ideas for 20 years. For the past decade, she has applied analytical and communication skills to market research, presentation, and, increasingly, social media needs of both businesses and individuals. Applying the same branding and communication principles she uses in corporate consulting, Lauren trains job seekers and students to leverage the power of presentation skills and social media to take control of their professional identities. Lauren is an attorney and certified mediator whose academic credentials include an LL.M. with merit from the University of London, a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Texas. She is the author of The Manager's Guide to Presentations, Impackt Publishing. You can connect with her on Twitter.

    Browse publications by this author
  • Andrew H. Hug

    Andrew H. Hug, founder of The Hug Law Firm, is a skilled negotiator with a proven track record of achieving desired results. As a criminal defense attorney and former
    assistant district attorney for Dallas County, Andrew has negotiated favorable outcomes in hundreds of cases as well as tried dozens of cases in front of juries. His ability
    to read people, present compelling cases, and strategically respond to adverse scenarios are key to his success. In addition to his legal experience, Andrew works as a
    strategist and consultant, training business professionals in negotiation tactics and guiding clients through challenging negotiations. Andrew holds an LL.M. in International
    Tax from the University of London, a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Bachelors of Business Administration with honors from the prestigious McCombs
    School of Business at the University of Texas. You can connect with him on Twitter.

    Browse publications by this author

Latest Reviews

(1 reviews total)
I found this book very helpful and would recommend it to other women in business. I especially liked the information presented from two points of view, male and female.
The Professional Woman's Guide to Getting Promoted
Unlock this book and the full library for FREE
Start free trial