The Art of Self Promotion – Part 5
Finding a way to create a professional profile for self-promotion, knowing what to say and how to approach a conversation is a challenge many professionals often tell me that they struggle with.
Companies are setting up talent portals, which host professional profiles of their employees and LinkedIn acts as a more public talent portal. When managers have job openings to fill, they often look at these profiles first to get a feel for who has posted for the job. Leaders also review these profiles as they are doing talent reviews for succession planning. So, I’ll share some pointers for writing these profiles.
Create a Professional Profile for Self-Promotion
“I do not market ‘myself’, but the work and the outcomes. The key is to be seen as “relevant” to the organization. Thus, you will be viewed as an organizational asset. People tend to not like people who “self-promote” themselves. So, the strategy that you must employ is to do it in a manner that does not come across as offensive and turn people off.”
Al C. , Norton Healthcare
Remember, your overall approach to promoting yourself is important:
- Promoting yourself is an ongoing process, not periodic events. Daily opportunities exist around you.
- Take advantage of a variety of opportunities to share and demonstrate your value. It’s not always what you say about yourself, but what you do that tells your story.
- Be a storyteller. Engaging the other person in the broader context can make it easier to weave in how you contributed to the outcome. However, don’t drag on too long. “I’m excited about some things that are going on and wanted to share them with you.”
- Tell your story as part of the team’s story. Of course, you want to give credit where credit is due. But, others also need to know how you add value. Teams don’t get promoted, individuals do. Incorporate your contributions into the story of the team’s overall accomplishments.
- Be strategic in making connections. Build rapport and working relationships first. You earn the privilege of the relationship and sharing your stories over time. How you add value to the relationship is the first priority.
- Show an interest in others. Ask others to share stories about their work first. A lot of conversations begin with “What’s going on?” or “How are things going with that project?” Actively listen and engage in the conversation while the other person is talking. The question will usually be thrown back to you.
“I listen first before I feel I need to contribute. I’ve always been that way and not every situation is comfortable. If you know your stuff, whatever that stuff is, and your message is true, people will know you’re sincere. Then, presentations, or elevator speeches, or just chatting become second nature.”
Patrick. S., Fourth Wall Murals
Optimize your message
When planning how to tell your story, there are several factors to take into consideration. You can use the faithful W’s and H – Who, What, When, Where and How – to assist you.
- Who – Consider your audience. To whom will you be communicating? What is your current relationship? What do they care about?
- What – What do you want others to know about you (values, skills, expertise, outcomes)? How do you add value to the business? What important business initiatives are you contributing to?
- When – Focus on the recency of your contributions. What have you done for the business lately? Use current examples.
- Where – Consider deliberate and coincidental opportunities to share. Is it a formal or an informal setting? Be conscientious of timing and how you approach someone.
- How – What communication method(s) will be best for clearly getting your message across? What communication method(s) will others be most receptive to?
When someone asks you the “What’s going on?” question, how do you respond? Bingo, this is your cue! Don’t complain about how busy you are, or the problems you’re facing. Use this as an opportunity to tell your story. For example, let’s say you’ve been working on how to cut costs. Instead of saying, “It seems like we’ve been spending a lot of time chasing cost out projects.”, say something like “Things are going really well. I’m really excited about the cost savings we just implemented. We eliminated several redundant steps that, when I investigated the process, I found were also being done in other departments. We’ll save the company some money this quarter.” Short and sweet, but it quickly communicates your contribution to the work of the team and the impact on the bottom line.
Optimizing Your Professional Profile for Self-Promotion
Don’t make the mistake of thinking these internal professional profiles are not a big deal. You may react, “What does HR have us doing now?” Your professional profile represents you when you’re not there. It’s the Snapchat glimpse of who you are and what you bring to the table. Leaders generate perceptions and make decisions based on what they see.
Here are a few rules of thumb when creating your profile:
- Don’t just list your job responsibilities. Speak to the measurable outcomes and impact of your work as much as possible.
- Emphasize how your work and accomplishments connect to the strategic priorities and success of the organization.
- Include meaningful keywords and references that are important to the organization, such as values, leadership competencies, key initiatives, and strategic priorities.
- Give some thought to what you’re good at so that your profile highlights your strengths.
- Highlight your community service involvement and leadership roles. This demonstrates your social responsibility,
- Keep your profile current; update it at least quarterly and when you have new information to share, such as recent accomplishments, recognition, or a new position.
- Use a professional photograph. Get one taken if you don’t have one.
Now your career toolkit is loaded and ready to go with strategies to successfully share your ‘selfie’. Please share your success stories with me. You can even share your stories to encourage other professionals on the FuelForward Facebook Group. I look forward to hearing from you!