1. Your current skills don't match the senior position. Being a brilliant computer programmer doesn't necessarily make you management material. Promotions tend to give you more leadership and management responsibility, and if you haven't had a position that has trained you for this, you may end up in over your head.
2. You may prefer what you're doing now. It's not just about additional responsibilities; sometimes you'd rather keep doing what you're doing now. Say you're a writer and you love the research and creative part of your job. If you become an editor, you may not write much at all. Instead you'll be involved in layout and meetings and advertising—areas you really don't have any interest in.
3. You're not ready. Sometimes the timing is simply wrong when it comes to being offered a promotion. Don't force it. Whether you've got personal issues right now that take your attention away from work or you simply don't feel confident in your ability to move to the next level, don't take a promotion if you're not mentally there.
4. It's in the wrong direction. The problem with getting a job in a different area than the one you currently have is that you need the right experience. But the longer you work in your current industry, the more appealing you are to that type of employer. It can be tempting to move up the ladder, but if your heart isn't into it, taking the promotion will only make it more difficult when you're ready to take the plunge into something new.
5. The role has been filled six times ... this year. Whether it's due to bad management or lack of infrastructure, some promotions aren't worth it because it's almost guaranteed that you too will leave after a few months of torture.
6. You're planning to leave within the year. If you already have plans to quit in the next 12 months or so, taking a new position within the company is an awkward move. You'll just be moved to that role and trained by the time you're ready to leave, which may force you to automatically burn bridges with the company.
7. You'll need to be available 24/7. Sometimes, a promotion means you'll need to be available around the clock, which can seriously put a damper on your personal life. If you're being offered a job that will regularly keep you away from the other facets of your life, give it some serious thought before accepting.
Being promoted is an honor, and a sign that you're doing good work. But before blindly accepting, make sure you do so with a full understanding of the role and the expectations.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues