You’ve been working for your company for a while now, putting in extra hours and doing your best work, hoping it’ll pay off — literally. But at this point, it’s starting to feel like it might never happen, and you’re desperately trying to figure out the reasons you’re not getting a promotion. Well, it’s actually pretty simple: You need to #askformore. Easier said than done, we know. That’s why we asked women’s leadership expert, author of The Confidence Effect and all-around #girlboss Grace Killelea for help.


First off, Grace says it’s important to understand that career gaps between men and women are a product of the way we’re socialized. “Women are told to be ‘good girls’ and to ‘wait our turns,’ while men are socialized to ask for more and are comfortable letting go of the tactical so they can be more strategic.” While it’s hard to change societal patterns, there are factors that are preventing you from climbing that corporate ladder that are within your power to change. Grace shared the following five important reasons you haven’t been promoted yet.


Why You Haven’t Been Promoted

1. You haven’t asked. “We don’t ask to be promoted. Simply put, we don’t raise our hands.”

2. You’re too quiet. “We don’t speak up enough,” Grace tells us. “We want to formulate perfect answers, so we stay quiet in meetings. Someone else may have our idea later on, but we get no credit.”

3. You’re working too hard! (Yes, you read that right!). “We stay heads down in the work. We don’t learn to delegate and take too much on ourselves.”

4. Impostor syndrome. “We tell ourselves we aren’t ready. Failing to take a chance, take a risk and stretching to that next level,” she says.

5. You haven’t made connections. “We don’t have networks supporting us and don’t have corporate champions (many times these are men) who can help get us noticed in the organization. We don’t form networks because we are too busy working.”


How to Get Promoted

If those hit a little too close to home, don’t fear! Grace has some fool-proof tips to help you speak up, raise your hand and network your way to to the top.

1. Make connections. “Building relationships with people internally and externally to our organizations is critical,” Grace says. “You have to be purposeful and respectful. Many leaders will make the time if you ask. Don’t underestimate the value of relationships with peers and subordinates.”

2. Build a personal brand. “Your personal brand is a combination of many things, including reputation, gravitas, appearance, communication, presentation, fashion, style, grace, grit… all the things that permeate and surround you as you go about your day. It is both a reflection and extension of you. The more purposeful you are about how you present your brand, the more powerful it will be. Your brand and your reputation are interchangeable,” she says.

“I believe all brands are built on the four R’s: relationships, reputation, results and resilience. Each of these four pillars is a critical component of a strong brand. Who do you know and what do you do to support those relationships? What do people say about you when you aren’t in the room? Do you get things done, over the finish line and with quality? And finally, how to you react when things go badly? Do you bounce back from adversity and challenges? If you can master each of these, you’ll have an unbeatable brand.”

3. Build confidence. “Fake it till you make it, and do it ’til you are through it! Understanding why you lack confidence matters. Pay attention to the negative self talk and behaviors you are exhibiting. Build a network. Ask for what you want, and pay attention to what you get,” Grace tells us.

Bottom line: “Show up. Suit up. Speak up. Stop apologizing and start right now.”

Are you frustrated by not moving up the corporate ladder? Tweet us which of these tips rang true for you @BritandCo!

Photos via Getty + Additional reporting by Lovelle Harris