We’ve all seen it. That colleague who is constantly telling everyone about all the great things he has done. He never misses an opportunity to forward an email from a client who has praised him or announce in a meeting that big new piece of business he just won. You tell yourself, “If I just keep working hard, eventually they will notice all of the great things I’ve done for this company.” Wrong! I No matter how competent or experienced you may be, if you fail to promote yourself you may find that you are overlooked for promotions and plum assignments. As women, we tend to have a strong aversion to self-promotion. From the time we are young girls we are often taught to be modest and humble. We don’t want to be seen as obnoxious or – God forbid – egotistical and so we are polite and self-deprecating, or we downplay our achievements. If this sounds like you, resolve to step out of the shadows and let your light shine. Make a commitment to strategically share the great work you do to create more opportunities for yourself at work and beyond. Here’s how:
- Cultivate a positive self-image – You can’t self-promote if you are constantly flogging yourself. Develop a healthy appreciation of your skills and attributes. Make a list of the things you do well and surround yourself with people who bring positive energy to your life and who can also give you the kind of constructive feedback that can help you become a better version of yourself.
- Clarify your values and know what you stand for – Understand your values and what’s important in life. Use these to guide your daily decisions and actions to do work that you are passionate about.
- Volunteer for high-visibility assignments – take on assignments that give you an opportunity to get noticed by key decision-makers and stakeholders in your organization.
- Become an expert in your field – Know more about the mating habits of meerkats than anyone else? Let people know by writing and speaking on the subject. Become an expert commentator on your passion and use social media to help you spread the word.
- Build your network – Join professional associations and reach out to colleagues inside and outside your organization to expand your circle of contacts.
- Use strategic communications – Practice sending succinct emails to key colleagues to share your successes. Share relevant articles and news of interest attached with a note on why you thought the recipient might be interested. A colleague of mine is fantastic at this. He frequently shares interesting video clips and articles that I always appreciate because they directly relate to my personal interests.
- Promote others – Sing the praises of others who do a great job. Not only is it good karma but when you recognize others, they’ll return the favor.
- Keep a running list of your achievements – When it’s time for your annual review, you won’t struggle to recall your successes. I keep a running excel sheet tabbed by quarter with a list of my achievements for each quarter. It makes it much easier for me to fill out my performance review when I meet with my boss.
- Cultivate your on-line presence– People need to be able to find you. These days it’s vital to have a carefully crafted on-line profile on LinkedIn as well as a presence on other social media outlets. If you don’t have one, start your own blog or website to upload content that captures readers’ attention.
- Always, always write thank you notes and notes of congratulations– in this day of voicemail, email, and text messages, a thoughtful hand-written note will be always remembered. I love sending and receiving thank you notes on beautiful stationery or unique greeting cards.
The bottom line? We are each born to this world with many gifts to share. Go ahead and toot your own horn!