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Good work deserves remuneration and deserving employees should take full advantage of promotion opportunities. A history of promotion builds a resume. It shows the candidate as a professional who succeeds at his or her goals and grows. When a worker sends their resume out into the job market, a promotion draws interest. Having that promotion in one’s work history could be the difference between landing a dream job and remaining in a rut, wishing for a change.


Because promotions are so beneficial to career development, turning them down without due consideration is always a mistake. After all, promotions are earned. They qualify the employee for better jobs and better pay elsewhere. Therefore, employees who are considering leaving their current company should think twice when offered a promotion.


It’s Not Forever


When employees are thinking of leaving a company, it’s often because they feel under appreciated or unrecognized. They may be underpaid. There are also often interpersonal and workplace politics that make them feel like heading for the exit.


If employees can take the emotion out of the equation, they can better assess their options. Does the promotion solve some or all of the problems that make leaving a consideration? If so, declining the promotion is probably unwise. After working in the new position, if some of the issues from before become problematic again, the employee can begin a job search at that time, with a leg up on the competition.




In most cases, employees have no other job offer when the promotion offer arrives. Because it can take months to find another job, and years if switching careers, taking the promotion is usually advisable. But what if the employee has an offer?


Of course, in that case, it’s reasonable to turn down the promotion and resign. Top performers often receive a counter offer from management. When the counteroffer provides a promotion, consider the reasons for looking outside of the company. If it was only about money and the current company exceeds the new offer, the counteroffer probably has more advantages, since an established history at the company makes success in the new position more probable. But when issues beyond money pervade, it may be better to cut ties. Unhappiness at work can be far worse than a lower paycheck.


Accepting a promotion usually makes sense, even if remaining at the company only in the short term. A promotion proves ability, competence, and drive. Turning it down leaves substantial accomplishments off the resume.