You thought you deserved it. But when it came time for the big promotion, someone else was named to the position. As leading executive headhunters in Sacramento, Pacific ExecSearch knows that getting passed over can certainly be a discouraging and disheartening situation, especially if a) you were promised the job or b) you know you earned it.

Whether it’s due to budget cuts, or internal politics, the fact of the matter is that you can’t let the decision impact your performance going forward. Here are 4 tips to help you handle the situation and keep your reputation in tact:

Tip #1: Leave emotions at the door.

It might feel good to get angry or lash out at your employer, but it won’t do you any good. And in fact, shows of emotions like this can actually hurt your ability to get ahead going forward. You’ll simply compound the situation if you act petulant or bitter.

Instead, process your feelings in private enough so you can deal with them – then move on. Don’t wallow in them.

Tip #2: Ask why.

Once you’ve calmed down, try to find out why you were passed over. If you can, sit down with your boss, or the decision maker. Don’t get defensive or accusatory. Instead, look at the conversation as an opportunity for you to learn more about your performance and the company. Keep in mind, though, you may never get a straight answer as to why you didn’t get the job.

Tip #3: Create a plan.

Whether or not you find out the real reason you didn’t get promoted, you need to create a plan going forward so you can eventually get the job you want. This may be a matter of working with higher ups at the company to learn about what skills you need to acquire. It can also include working with a headhunter to find out about opportunities that are a fit with your career goals.

Tip #4: Be graceful.

Whether you stay or go, sit tight in your position or aim to win a promotion going forward, be graceful toward the person who did get the job you wanted. Don’t act resentful or passive aggressive toward them, tempting as it may be. It’s likely not their fault that you didn’t get the promotion.

Not getting a promotion is an upsetting situation on the surface. But reframe the position you’re in and instead, look at it as a learning opportunity. What areas do you need to improve upon? What skills do you need to learn? What must you do going forward to achieve your long-term career goals? A setback can be a great moment in your career, as long as you view it as a way to learn and grow.

Are you interested in learning more about how a headhunter can help you advance in your career? Call the experts at Pacific ExecSearch. As leading executive headhunters in Sacramento, we can connect you with innovative employers and dynamic opportunities, so you can achieve your career goals. Contact us today to learn more.