Businesswoman with her head against a window in frustration.

Be thoughtful about the positions for which you throw your hat in the ring. (Getty Images)

So, you're ready to advance your career. You want a promotion – a new role, new responsibilities, more authority and more rewards. You've proven yourself, and now it's time for the next step in your professional journey.

The only problem? You seem to be stuck.

You've tried and tried but nothing has come to fruition. You know in your heart that you're ready, so why are you being overlooked time and again?

Here are three ways you may be unintentionally sabotaging your chances for a promotion.

[See: 8 Ways Millennials Can Build Leadership Skills.]

You Apply for ALL Possible Opportunities

When you're ready for a promotion, it can feel like an urgent matter. You want it, and you want it now. That can create anxiety, which can push you into impulsive, bad decisions.

Blanketing your resume around the organization is a common form of self-sabotage. Instead of taking the time to find the right advancement opportunity, many people simply go for quantity over quality. They think that the more positions they apply for, the better the odds. Unfortunately, this strategy can backfire.

When you aren't discerning in your approach, you can come off looking desperate. You want to position yourself as someone who is eager and ambitious, but not overly so. You don't want to make just any move – you want to make the right move for yourself and for the organization.

Additionally, when people see your name on a list of candidates over and over again, they may start to wonder why you haven't been successful in your previous attempts. They may immediately discount your application thinking there must be a reason why you're not promotable.

To avoid this issue, be thoughtful about the positions for which you throw your hat in the ring. Make sure you are a good fit for the role and that it matches your career objectives. Choose wisely, even if it means taking more time for the right thing to come along.

[See: The 25 Best Jobs of 2018.]

You Vocally Complain When Passed Over

Promotions are a privilege, not a right. Consequently, there may be times when you're passed over, even when you think you're the ideal person for the job. You just never know what goes into the decision-making process. On paper, you might appear to be a perfect fit. But that's not a guarantee. There may be a variety of factors at play that you know nothing about.

If and when you are denied a promotion, the worst thing you can do is to vocally complain about the decision. Far too often, people share their frustration with anyone who will listen. They create all kinds of explanations as to why they were unsuccessful – but they rarely take any responsibility. Instead, they blame office politics and favoritism. They express shock and disbelief regarding the successful candidate. They complain of being blacklisted or pigeonholed, and to those listening, they come off as self-righteous and entitled.

Remember that people are indeed watching how you respond to these kinds of career setbacks. Your words and behaviors speak volumes about your character. They will impact your reputation and future opportunities. When you demonstrate grace and professionalism in the face of disappointment, people will respect you (instead of pitying you or looking down on you). As a result, you'll be in a better place for earning that promotion in the future.

[See: 10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Land a Job.]

You Fail to Ask for Managerial Support and Feedback

Finally, many people sabotage their chances for earning a promotion when they fail to keep an open dialogue with management. This involves sharing your goals and asking for advice regarding what you can do to be successful. It means asking specifically for your manager's support – or asking what you can do to earn that support in the future.

If and when you are passed over for a promotion, request feedback and listen closely. While you may feel you are ready for this next career move, your managers and prospective managers may have a different point of view. Staying in blissful ignorance is certainly more comfortable, but it won't get you where you want to be.

Ultimately, you can't do this on your own. When you earn a promotion, it means that the people above you have faith in your abilities and who you are as a professional. As a result, they are willing to extend to you an opportunity to advance your career. You need their buy-in to make it happen.

When you're struggling to earn a promotion you feel is well-deserved, take a good hard look at your behaviors. Are you sabotaging your chances by engaging in any of the activities listed above? If so, it's time to recalibrate. A few minor shifts may dramatically improve your results.

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Tags: money, careers, Applying, employment, Salaries and Benefits, Interviewing

Chrissy Scivicque believes that work can be a delicious, nourishing life experience – and she loves helping professionals discover exactly what that means for them and how to achieve it. Her popular website,, is devoted to this mission. As an award-winning writer, certified career coach and experienced corporate trainer, Chrissy brings a unique perspective to the world of professional development. She is the author of the “Build Your Professional Development Plan” workbook and a new book, “The Proactive Professional" (both available on Amazon). If you’re looking to re-energize your work life, you can get access to dozens of Chrissy’s favorite professional development tools by joining her Free Career Resource Library.

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