The Number One Career Advancement Killer (And How To Avoid It)

Career advancement

You’re desperate to get ahead at work. You know you deserve more than this job you’re in—you’re capable of much more!—so every time there’s an opportunity for advancement, you’re the first person in line. You’ve scattered your resume far and wide throughout the company and yet, no matter what you do, every promotion opportunity passes you by.

Sound familiar? If this is your story, keep reading. It sounds like you’re a victim of the number one career advancement killer.

Put simply, your problem is a lack of focus. You want so badly to move up, you’re willing to take just about anything as long as it’s a step above where you currently are. That kind of mindset reeks of desperation, and hiring managers can smell it a mile away.

When you put yourself out there for everything, people see your motivation for a promotion, but they don’t see your motivation for the specific role you’re after. You appear power hungry—willing to do anything for the bigger paycheck or better title. What doesn’t show is your commitment to the job, your passion for the position, your desire to excel in this new role. As far as they know, you’ll be on to the next thing before you even get your feet wet here.

And that’s why you keep getting passed over.

The fix? It’s easy. Stop wallpapering the company with your resume. Stop going for every opportunity that presents itself. Instead, be selective. Find the right opportunity—a position that suits your skills and supports your long-term career goals. Only apply for promotions you’re passionate about—positions for which you have something special to offer.

And until that right opportunity comes along, invest everything you have into doing your current job to the best of your ability. You might be capable of more, but right now, this is it so take pride in it. Make a name for yourself right where you are. Prove you’re a hard worker. Don’t sit around complaining that the work is beneath you. Don’t let the world know that you’re clambering to move on.

Focus your internal job search as much as you’d focus an external one. Tailor your application and resume to the role and know why you’re the right person for it. Doing so will save time for everyone and you’ll soon repair the promiscuous reputation you’ve (unintentionally) created along the way.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.