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Build Your Career Get Ahead

21 Reasons You Haven't Been Promoted

21 Reasons You Haven't Been Promoted
Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

If you put in long hours, hit all your deadlines and have customers and clients who love you, and you still can't get a promotion, it might be time to consider whether your appearance and attitude are what's holding you back.

Dressing inappropriately, having an unprofessional haircut, exhibiting a negative attitude and constantly gossiping are just some of the nonwork-related factors that could be hurting your chances of moving up the corporate ladder, according to a new study from CareerBuilder.

"In addition to on-the-job accomplishments, employers also take attitude, behavior and appearance into consideration when deciding who deserves to move up in the ranks," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

While employees might not think that how they look each day makes a difference, human resources managers say it does. The study revealed that more than 40 percent of employers say wearing provocative clothing or having a generally shabby appearance are the top reasons, from a physical appearance perspective, that make employees less likely to be promoted.

Other aspects of a worker's look that can hurt their chances to advance their careers include:

  • Piercings outside of traditional ear piercings
  • Attire that is too casual for the workplace
  • Visible tattoos
  • An unprofessional or ostentatious haircut
  • Unprofessional or ostentatious facial hair
  • Bad breath
  • Heavy perfume or cologne
  • Too much makeup

Behavior also plays a large role in whether or not workers are promoted. The research shows that more than 60 percent of employers say that employees who have a negative attitude and constantly show up late negatively affect that person's chances of getting a promotion. [Want a Promotion? Mind Your Manners ]

A variety of other behavioral issues are putting workers in an unfavorable light in the eyes of their employer, including:

  • Using vulgar language
  • Regularly leaving early
  • Taking too many sick days
  • Gossiping
  • Spending office time on personal social media accounts
  • Not cleaning up after him- or herself
  • Always initiating nonwork-related conversations with co-workers
  • Taking personal calls at work
  • Taking smoke breaks

"While your work performance may be strong, if you're not presenting yourself in a professional manner, it may be preventing your superiors from taking you seriously," Haefner said.

The study was based on surveys of 2,175 hiring and human resources managers.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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