For many of us, the very thought of “promoting ourselves” at work brings up some level of discomfort. The emotions we feel could be fear, or even shame (we may have been brought up not to brag). It’s okay if someone else touts our achievements or strengths, but if we blow our own horn, we worry about what people will think. If you are nodding your head in agreement, it’s time to learn the art of shameless self-promotion. Career and leadership coach Alan Allard has some advice.
Have an end game. Promoting yourself at work is nothing more than a marketing strategy and if companies can do it, then why can’t you? You have to if you want to be noticed and recognized to the extent that you deserve. You might be the greatest “product” on the market, but even the best of them will fail if they’re not marketed effectively. The next time a promotion becomes available or you want to land a raise, be proactive – make your employers see why you deserve it. Even if you’re an expert in your field, hanging back to “let your work speak for itself” will leave you in the dark.
Stay the course. If you’ve been shying away from promoting your accomplishments, you’re not going to start shouting them from the rooftops overnight. Instead, make a commitment to share your achievements in small ways to shine light on what you bring to the table. Start with accomplishments you’re proud of, or what classes you excelled at in school. When you feel yourself starting to hold back some of your successes, ask, “Is my career advancement worth getting a little uncomfortable while I’m promoting myself?”
Own your worth. Show your boss that you’re capable (and that you’re confident in your abilities) by asking to take on more responsibility and telling her why. What’s keeping us from doing that right now? Fear – the fear of your boss turning you down, or the fear of your colleagues finding your newfound gusto presumptuous. Put those fears to rest by speaking up – you’ll be surprised how well you’ll be received. Most often, the only person doubting you is you. Ask a trusted colleague to help you take ownership of your work. Every few days, have her ask you, “How is your latest project going?” to help you get more comfortable speaking about your work.
Keep a paper trail. Too many of us minimize the accomplishments or the role we play in our organization. Keep a work journal of what you do and the impact it has. Otherwise, you’ll push your contributions to the back of your mind and not think of anything to report in your next meeting. This will also prepare you for the next time you run into a senior executive in the hallway who asks, “How are things going?” Instead of being tongue-tied, you’ll be shamelessly self-promoting your accomplishments and moving up the ladder.
Part of self promotion is claiming your accomplishments. If you are not used to doing so, here are some tips to help.
Write down the achievement. Make sure you state it in bottom-line terms.
Get specific. Take out verbs such as “assist,” “help,” and “support” and conditional verbs like “would” and “could.” Use action words like “developed,” “negotiated,” “implemented,” or “coordinated.”
Own your contributions. You deserve credit for your work, and hiding behind your team won’t work. Consider your team’s achievements, and then single out your contributions and what unique qualities you brought to the table.
Let people know. Spread the news of your recent achievement.
- Post it on your social media accounts.
- Email your immediate contacts – mentors, former colleagues and employers.
- Send handwritten notes to potential new clients. Make sure to comment about them before you slip in your win.