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Your boss rejected your promotion request. Here’s a simple tip from the CEO for what to do next

Your boss rejected your promotion request. Here’s a simple tip from the CEO for what to do next

Rejection can be a difficult drug to swallow, especially when it comes straight from your boss.

Debbie Sue, CEO of restaurant reservation service OpenTable, knows that feeling. Like many others, she received countless “nos” throughout her career before finally getting promoted or new positions, she says.

These rejections helped her identify a reliable formula for converting a “no” from your boss into a “yes” — or at least something close to that.

“You have to have that persistence, and really stick to what you want,” Su told CNBC Make It. “You can’t ask blindly. You have to balance perseverance with strategy and reading the room.”

Here’s a breakdown of Sue’s strategy, and how you can use it to hold yourself back after facing rejection from your boss:

Be persistent but strategic after rejection

Don’t let “no” destroy your confidence and prevent you from asking again, Sue says: “Often, no isn’t that hard, it’s ‘not yet’ or ‘no,’ but how about this?” “

Use the rejection as an opportunity to gather and reflect on feedback and make improvements accordingly before trying again. “It’s not about how many times you ask, it’s about what you’ve done since the last time you asked,” says Su.

If your boss rejects your request for a promotion because you lack experience in a particular program, try to address that weakness before asking again. You can ask a colleague for tips or take an online course to teach you how to use this program before returning to your boss.

When you’re ready, Sue advises telling your boss, “This is how I’ve improved and what I’ve accomplished since last time. I’m more prepared and qualified now because I have the skills I said I was missing before.”

If you think you are clearly qualified for this role, try to form a stronger argument about why you deserve this role. State clearly why you are qualified – or at least close to being – and why it would be a smart decision for your manager in choosing you.

Make sure your request is reasonable

Sue says framing your application around your company’s needs can help.

Perhaps asking to fill an already open role, or working on a project in a different department could use an extra hand. The task becomes more difficult if you ask your boss to create an entirely new role for you.

If you can’t come up with a realistic explanation for how you can help move your company forward in a new role — or if your boss doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate what you’d like to bring to the table — it may be, Sue says it’s time to look elsewhere .

And, she adds, try to find other companies that can offer you what you need to achieve those goals.

What does this strategy look like in action?

In 2013, Su was the Senior Director of New Markets at travel search company Kayak. The company was looking for a vice president to help manage the Asia Pacific region, and Sue had positioned herself in the position.

Its president, the company’s then CEO, said no. He told her he was looking for a more experienced candidate.

Sue says she was aware she wasn’t “old enough to be at the vice president level,” but that her other qualifications matched the responsibilities of the role, and she knew the company needed someone to fill the role. So she kept pushing for it, trying to make an argument that focuses on her skills relevant to the position.

Her new and revised offering included her experience launching new kayak markets in countries such as Brazil, Canada and Poland – and her ability to speak Mandarin. “Why don’t you give me a try, and you can keep the right to hire over me if it doesn’t work out?” She remembers asking her boss.

Here’s exactly what happened: The CEO promoted her to “senior manager” in the area, then officially made her vice president a year later.

Sue says it’s just one example of many in her career. “What really matters is what you do after the ‘no’,” she adds.

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