#4 Secret to Getting Ahead: Nominate Yourself for a Promotion

Women who want to get ahead: This week is for you. To get ahead, you must promote yourself. We are here to help you do just that. Check in with us every day this week and we’ll not only tell you how, but also share valuable researchstories, cheer you on and more.

 “Women who are more proactive self-promoters are better able to advance their careers and increase their salaries, and are overall more professionally satisfied, than women who were less likely to make their achievements visible.” – Ilene H. Lang, president & CEO of Catalyst

Last fall, there was a new position for hire in the communications/marketing department I worked in at a global nonprofit. I was interested in the position but wrongfully assumed that because they didn’t offer it to me or ask me to apply, they did not think I would be good for the job. I even helped interview other candidates for the role. After several interviews, a month or two later, and no luck, my direct supervisor took me aside and asked if I thought about applying for the job. I said no, because no one had offered or asked me too. I will never forget what she said: “I think you would be a great fit for this position and do a great job. But if you want to do it, you need to take control of your career and be proactive. You shouldn’t wait for others to ask or tell you, or you’ll never get anywhere. You need to go after what you want.”

You need to take control of your career and be proactive. You shouldn’t wait for others to ask or tell you, or you’ll never get anywhere. You need to go after what you want.

Her words lit a fire in me. I immediately applied for the job the next day, and pursued it for the following week. I sought help from mentors on how to best position myself and advocate for what I knew I had to offer. The result: A few weeks later, I was offered the promotion! I learned a valuable lesson that I will never forget and can’t thank my supervisor enough for challenging me and speaking that truth into me.

A great example of the importance of nominating yourself for a promotion is the recent New York Times article, ‘In Google’s Inner Circle, a Falling Number of Women’.

Executives at Google noticed that they weren’t hiring and retaining enough women. Too many women were dropping out in the interview process and were not promoted at the same rate as men. So Google developed some research to find out where women dropped out of the interview process, how they lost them and  how to keep them.

One of Google’s findings was that some women who applied for jobs did not make it past the phone interview. The reason? “Women did not flaunt their achievements, so interviewers judged them unaccomplished.”

“Google now asks interviewers to report candidates’ answers in more detail. Google also found that women who turned down job offers had interviewed only with men. Now, a woman interviewing at Google will meet other women during the hiring process. A result: More women are being hired.

Once hired, technical women were not being promoted at the same rate as men. At Google, employees nominate themselves for promotions, but the data revealed that women were less likely to do so. So senior women at Google now host workshops to encourage women to nominate themselves, and they are promoted proportionally to men.”

After finding these results, Google implemented simple steps, “like making sure prospective hires meet other women during their interviews and extending maternity leaves seem to be producing results — at least among the rank and file.”

I made the common mistake most women when make in assuming they might not be right for the promotion. But through it I learned early on that it is in my power to speak up and show what my value is, what I will bring to the table, and that I am right for the job! And YOU are too. Lead the way!

I encourage you to take some time, grab a piece of paper, and reflect: Do you nominate yourself for promotions? Why or why not? How can you better ‘flaunt your accomplishments’? How can you do a better job at promoting yourself? 


This week we’ve been talking about what it takes to get ahead. If you’ve missed the secrets of how to promote yourself, you can catch up here: 1) Communicate your achievements, 2) Practice promoting yourself, and 3) Track your accomplishments.

Erin Risner

Director of Community Engagement

Writer. Creative. Brand Strategist. Content Curator. Social Media and Marketing Maven. Passionate about connecting with women around the world and telling their success stories.