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Book review: Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why

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Who Gets Promoted Who Doesn't and Why Book Review

Donald Asher’s book, Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t And Why is sub-titled ’12 things you’d better do if you want to get ahead’.

Now in it’s second edition, it’s an easy read with a conversational style.

Asher is a career development expert, with a special interest in graduate careers and starting off. This isn’t his latest book but it’s the most relevant to those of us part-way through our careers.

I was expecting the book to be largely common sense. Do a good job, be in the right place at the right time, move companies if you have to, and so on.

But it was more than that. And in some places it was pretty uncomfortable reading. These are the truths about recruitment that perhaps we don’t want to acknowledge. Like:

[N]o matter what you have done in the past, the boss really doesn’t care. What she cares about is what you can do for her (and the company) in your new position. Your past only serves as an indication of what you might do in the future… In fact, employers really don’t want to know what you’ve done, even lately. They want proof that you can deliver a specific, clearly targeted future…To get promoted you have to offer the best future out of the available options.

Lose your accent, learn to present properly, dress well, concentrate on high-value contributions and continue learning – these are just some of the ideas pulled from just a couple of pages!

Who Gets Promoted is literally stuffed with things you can do to improve other people’s perception of you at work.

Self-promotion (and I mean pushing yourself forward, not giving yourself a new job) is something that people often find difficult to do: women especially.

Project managers too, occasionally. As a profession, we get things done through other people and while I know people who will take all the credit when their team has slogged long hours to deliver something, most of us are more generous with sharing the praise and acknowledging that really all we do is tick off tasks on a plan and check no one spends too much money.

For more practical advice on building your career specifically designed for project managers, head over to my free career workshop: a series of 3 on-demand videos to help you gain the skills you need to excel in the role.

So making sure people know how great we are isn’t that obvious. Who do we tell? How can we do it without sounding pretentious and showing off?

This is a subject I feel strongly about ( there’s a chapter in my book about it) and this is all about getting yourself noticed for the right reasons. It’s great. You’ll pick up a tip on every page.

Real-life stories

The other thing I really appreciated about this book is the case studies. I’m big on learning through other people’s errors and experiences and there are plenty of short, easy to grasp examples of how people have made it.

Some of them take guts, like resigning and then being hired for the same manager in the same job but at the next pay grade up. But others illustrate points anyone could put into practice.

Frankly, even if you aren’t looking for a promotion or more money in your current role it would be worth reading this book. Especially if you are looking to move to part-time hours or thinking of how to ask your boss to work remotely.

It was one of the Kennedy-Krannich top ten career books of 2007, and if you are looking to be more appreciated at work then this will give you some clues as to what you should be doing.

I bet you’re dying to ask – have I been promoted since I read this book?

Well, yes. My role changed twice within six months of reading Who Gets Promoted, and both have been positive, role-developing opportunities. I like to think they would have happened regardless of Donald Asher, but who knows?

Buy Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t and Why on Amazon.

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.

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