What to do next if you didn't get that promotion.

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I don't know many people who aren't familiar with that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're passed up for an opportunity. When that role that you really wanted is given to someone else and you're left with that sting of rejection, it's hard not to let it affect you in a negative way.

However, the fact that you put yourself up for that promotion in the first place, should be something to celebrate! But what you do after the process is completed can be just as important for your career as the promotion process itself.

So, if you're sat there thinking 'now what?', here are the things you should do next if you didn't quite get that job you were hoping for.

Give yourself time to be sad.

You’re going to feel sad, it’s bound to happen. You’re going to feel rejected and a little down and there’s not much you can do about that. Somewhere out there, there’s a 20 minute rule. Allow yourself 20 minutes to wallow and feel sad when you get home. Whip out the Ben & Jerry’s, play some music, call a friend and get all of those negative feelings out.

Then, when your twenty minutes up, grab your laptop, put your hair in a bun, and start working on your action plan for your next move.

Most importantly, be your normal, professional self when you get to work the next morning and show people that you’re still as determined and motivated as ever, and that you don’t let any setbacks knock you.


Don’t take it personally…

...because when you do, you’re at risk of letting your emotions take over and doing or saying something that may hurt you in the long run. Don’t let yourself gossip to your colleagues about your manager giving the position to someone else, and if that position has gone to someone else in the company, certainly don’t say anything about them! You need to keep in mind that these decisions are business decisions, and when you think about things like that, it’s easier to rise above the disappointment and anger you may feel.

Get feedback.

If you don’t do anything else, make sure the one thing you do is get feedback from anyone who was involved in the recruitment/promotion process. Ask them what you need to do and work on so that you can bag yourself the role next time. Are there any particular experiences that you’re missing that you can put yourself forward for? Are there any training courses that you can enrol on to strengthen a particular skill? Also remember to ask for the positives from your applications and interviews - what are your strengths that you can continue to thrive on?


Start working on that action plan & put it into action.

Okay, so now you know what you need to work on, start pulling a plan together of how you’re going to make sure that the next job will be yours. Enrol on those training courses. Speak to your manager and ask to take the lead on the next project. Put your name down for all of the networking events you can find.

Or, is it a case that your next move is going to be outside of your current company? Sometimes, we have to really assess this option, because there could be more opportunities elsewhere, in different organisations where they think you’re already fit for the job.

Keep going.

Don’t give up. Don’t take the rejection as a failure, take it as part of your learning journey and keep pushing forward and ‘raising your hand’. Don’t stop applying for other opportunities just because you didn’t get this one. You have to be in it to win and all that, and one lost promotion isn’t the end of the road for your career. Take a deep breath, and keep moving forward.. .you’ll get there. We promise.