Dear Matt: There have been a few internal job postings I've applied for, but even though I interviewed, I did not get the job. It's hard to go to work now, especially when co-workers who were once my equals were promoted. I feel like there is politics involved because those who got hired spend time with the hiring people outside of work or at company happy hour. I'm just not into that and feel because I don't go to happy hour or hang out on weekends, it's affecting my career.
Matt says: There's no written rule that because you work together you have to hang out together, so it's certainly understandable if heading to happy hour with people you just spent 8 to 10 hours with isn't for you. However, that doesn't mean you can't overcome these cocktail conversations and jump to the top of the list the next time an internal job posting opens up.
You can overcome all of this by preparing for a promotion well in advance of any future job openings, says Caleb Fullhart, a Senior Sourcing Recruiter for the Twin Cities office of SAP. Fullhart recommends going to your supervisor to express interest in getting promoted, and ask to set up a training plan that would address any deficiencies in your current skill set.
"In essence you will engage the manager to help with your career planning process, while also learning what they are looking for in order to get promoted," said Fullhart.
It's important to look at the situation objectively, Northamer said. Is the manager's reluctance really due to qualifications you lack? If so, how can you get those qualifications?
"Employees shouldn't wait for a position to open to express interest in advancement," said Northamer. "Schedule time with your boss to talk about you career related goals and objectives. Letting your manager know as soon as possible will increase the chances that you'll be considered when the company is creating new positions or filling existing roles."
Attending happy hour is probably not what is setting these people apart. It's probably more to do with the conversations that happen at a happy hour with your boss -- goal setting, brainstorming, project planning, discussing future initiatives and needs, for example.
"Instead of going to happy hour, bring that conversation to your boss," said Fullhart. "This is show that you are an actively engaged employee and have drive. This is something most companies hold in high regard."