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The 4 biggest weaknesses that keep you from getting promoted

If you've been at your company for a while and are eager to climb the professional ladder, it can be frustrating when no promotion comes your way. It can be especially vexing when you feel like you contribute lots of time and effort to doing a good job. The truth is, however, that it takes a lot more than simply clocking in from 9-5 to get to the next level in your career. There are many factors that go into delegating internal promotions, and these decisions are not made lightly.

Perplexed as to why you haven't been asked to step into a more esteemed position yet? Here are four weakness that could be keeping you from that promotion.

1. You don't present yourself well
While your education, experience and professional accolades helped you land your current position, your appearance could be keeping you there.

According to the CareerBuilder market study, "Beyond performance: Top stumbling blocks to earning that promotion," employers are often swayed by how workers present themselves when they're deciding who will receive promotions. About 44 percent of bosses said they would be less likely to promote employees who come to the office in provocative attire, while 43 percent indicated that they would think twice about reassigning workers who come in with wrinkled clothes and shabby ensembles. Piercings apart from the ears would prevent 32 percent of employers from promoting workers, while visible tattoos are a deciding factor for 27 percent of managers. About 27 percent of bosses wouldn't upgrade staff members who regularly wore clothes that were too casual for their work environments.

U.S. News & World Report noted that many people stop dressing up for work once they get comfortable with their companies and coworkers. It's natural to ditch the suit and tie once you've become an established team member, but you should always respect the office dress code and try to look professional. Even if your job is totally fine with workers wearing informal clothing, you should come to the office looking put together - casual doesn't mean disheveled.

2. You aren't taking initiative
A watched pot never boils, and an employee who expects a promotion to magically come his way never moves up. If you've been patiently waiting for your boss to notice your silent commitment to your job, you may want to try a more proactive strategy instead. Unfortunately, managers aren't mind-readers, and your employer will never know that you're pining for a promotion if you don't speak up and take some initiative.

A good way to show that you're serious about climbing the company ranks is by going above and beyond in your current position. Jennifer Dulski, president and COO at Change.org, explained on LinkedIn that employees who utter the phrase "That's not my job!" when faced with additional responsibilities are almost never offered promotions.

"The very nature of a promotion is that you will be moving into a job that is different and larger than the one you currently have. People are usually promoted when they are already demonstrating that they can perform at a level that is beyond the role they are currently in, so by definition you will be doing work that is 'not your job,'" Dulski wrote.

She also noted that people who offer to handle extra work, take on difficult projects or even just stick around to clean up after work are usually seen as trustworthy and reliable. Establishing yourself as a dependable team member will put you in the front of managers' minds when they're deciding who to promote.

3. You lack essential skills
Maybe you excel at your current job. You arrive at 8:30 and don't leave until 6:30, you're passionate about the work you're doing and you aren't afraid to suggest solutions and take feedback. If you don't have the right skills to land the promotion you're hoping to earn, none of these things matter - you're likely not going to move up. Forbes magazine explained that if you really want to get a promotion, you need to do some research and find out what hard skills your desired position requires. You may just need to take a refresher course on certain computer programs, or you may need to pursue more intensive training.

The source also noted that you may not be getting considered for promotions because you don't have the "soft skills" required to excel in higher positions. This means that although you're a great employee in the technical sense, you may lack the leadership, management or critical thinking skills that are needed to get ahead. If you think that it's these transferable qualities that may be holding you back, ask your boss to give you a focused performance review. 

4. You do the bare minimum 
As a full-time employee, your boss is paying you to put in eight hours each day. If your job doesn't have a formal clock-punching policy, however, it can be tempting to cut corners to your work day. Even if you have a great attitude and are getting all your work done, your eagerness to leave the office as soon as possible won't go unnoticed.

U.S. News & World Report explained that having a solid work presence is key to getting promoted. If you really want that new job, you should be getting to the office 10-15 minutes before your day official starts so you have time to settle in and can get right to business at 9 o'clock sharp. Your lunch breaks shouldn't drag on longer than an hour, and you shouldn't leave in the middle of a project just because the clock strikes 5. 

Inc. magazine suggested planning to stay a few minutes later than your colleagues two or three times each week. Use the extra time to set up your schedule for the next day and strike up a conversation with your boss. Your efforts won't be in vain - your manager will undoubtedly take note of your dedication. 

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