1. Over-using the terms “my career” or “promotion” in your discussions with your manager.

Language such as “I’m committed to being a part of the company’s continued growth and success” is often more palatable then “I’d like to get promoted.”

2.  Going for too big a jump in responsibilities too soon.

For example, a junior programmer for a software development company learned that a senior engineer was leaving for a new opportunity.  The junior programmer marched into the director’s office with a bulleted list of why she should be promoted to the senior engineer’s position, but her plan backfired. In the director’s eyes, it was too far a stretch. The junior programmer ended up with no promotion, when she might have landed some additional responsibility with an engineering title had she used a strategy that allowed for a smaller step.

3.  Bugging your manager with too-frequent reminders of wanting to be promoted.

If, during a your “career conversation” with your manager, you’re being completely clear about your  expectations and your manager has openly discussed what you need to do to move forward, frequent reminders to the manager shouldn’t be necessary. Just be sure that you have calendared a time in the weeks or months ahead to revisit the topic with your manager.  In the meantime, you should continue to work with excellence and optimism.

One Starbucks manager described the timing factor to me this way: “It ‘s music to my ears when an employee wants to be promoted and says it in a manner that doesn’t put pressure on the relationship.  I had one employee tell me, ‘If you want to promote me, I’m more than ready, willing and available to grow with the company; I also know you need great people out front with customers, so, until that time, I’m here for you with a 110% effort.’  I promoted this particular employee in less than two months!”

4.  Begging for a promotion because of financial pressures.

Managers and business owners tend to take the attitude that you knew what the job paid when you took it and it’s up to you to live within your income.

5.  Pouting or grousing when not getting promoted as quickly as you would like.

Act like an adult!

6.  Whining or demanding that you be promoted because you’re envious or frustrated that someone else on the team got promoted.

You may believe that the wrong person got a promotion, and you may even be right.  If he is, the results of the decision will be revealed in due time.  Keep your frustrations to yourself, and continue to do a great job.  If the person who was promoted hangs herself through poor performance, you will be looked to as the one who can save the day.

7.  Being clueless about the big picture and how one’s current position and targeted promotion fit with the company’s goals and profitability picture.

If you are serious about wanting a promotion, you should do your homework! Understand how you fit in to the big picture, and what specific return-on-investment you bring to the table.

8.  Being deceitful or double-minded toward one’s manager.

You should never act in a respectful manner around your manager and then undermine or criticize them in their absence. This never pays off!

9.  Asking to be promoted without having gone above and beyond in the current position.

Employers don’t promote someone for simply doing what’s expected of them.)

10. Expecting a promotion without having made measurable progress in areas outlined for improvement on prior performance evaluations.

If you haven’t made any effort to improve on areas pointed out, why would the boss think you would be a good study on a new job!

11. Being unprepared with talking points about the value or return-on-investment that can be brought to the new positions.

You should be clear about what you bring to the table and the strengths that you bring to the company.

12. Not dressing, speaking or acting the part.

Don’t stand out by being different.  Stand out by being excellent.  If you wear something that causes listeners to pay more attention to it than the message, ditch it!