At this point in our series, we’ve already explored several aspects of self-promotion, including why it’s necessary and how to overcome the inevitable fear it triggers. Now, we’re turning our attention to tactics.
Most people primarily think of self-promotion as an external activity; it’s something you do when you’re looking for a new job. But, it’s also a very useful internal activity. When you’re looking to advance within your current organization, it can help position you as the right choice for a promotion, raise or other opportunities.
Of course, self-promotion in the workplace looks a little different than it does on the outside. Many of the principles remain the same, but the execution is slightly adapted. Here are some helpful pointers to keep in mind when self-promoting for career advancement.
The two most important tools at your disposal are (1) the things you accomplish and (2) the praise you receive from others. Keep track of these things so you can discuss them clearly and comfortably in performance reviews and other career conversations. They provide tangible proof of your value to the organization but, if you don’t capture them, they can easily get overlooked or forgotten.
Create an accomplishments list and make a habit to update it every week (or at least monthly). Also, create a “kudos” file where you can collect those complimentary emails you receive and take note of positive feedback.
With the help of these records, you’ll never be at a loss when it comes to discussing your successes at work. You’ll have all the necessary details at your fingertips, you’ll feel more confident, and others will be more receptive as you share tangible evidence of your greatness (rather than your own opinion).
Self-promotion means being a vocal advocate for yourself. In the workplace, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Some are obvious—during performance reviews, for example, it’s expected. But others are less obvious. You don’t have to wait for a formal “career conversation” to discuss your goals and accomplishments with others.
Look for everyday opportunities to help your colleagues better understand your contributions. Discuss what you’re working on and how things are going. When you reach a major milestone on a project, share your enthusiasm with the team. Don’t dominate conversations, but don’t shy away from talking about yourself either.
Too many professionals downplay their value for fear of looking arrogant. But that can backfire—especially when you’re trying to position yourself for advancement. The goal is to express authentic confidence in who you are and what you do. It’s a balancing act, but it’s not rocket science. Let your emotional intelligence guide you.
Lastly, perhaps one of the best ways to promote your own capabilities is by helping others. Use your expertise to support your colleagues in achieving their goals. Be a resource. Share your secrets to success. Train others how to do what you do.
These activities help raise your visibility and establish you as a leader—someone who isn’t afraid of competition. You can lift others up without worrying about your own security. Managers recognize and appreciate this quality, and they often seek it out when looking for people to promote.
Self-promotion is a necessary part of career growth. In today’s busy workplace, it’s not enough to simply do your job and hope you get the recognition you deserve. If you want to advance in your career, you have to shine the spotlight on yourself. Otherwise, you run the risk of staying in the dark forever.
Don’t miss our fourth and final article in this series; we’ll be discussing one of the most critical times you need self-promotion—during a job search. Now that’s you’ve mastered the internal strategies, it’s time go external! As always, you’ll learn things you can start doing right away, whether or not you’re in the midst of a job search or planning one any time soon.