One of the biggest challenges for professionals is to identify your self-promotion toolkit. Yet, it’s critical to career success. How do you get past the uncomfortable pit in your stomach or awkwardness when you begin to speak up about yourself? Believe me, it’s possible to get to the point where you’re not so anxious.
How many selfies do you post on social media? You may have started out being a little shy about posting selfies. But now, you can hardly go a day without updating your friends about what’s going on in your life. ‘Selfie’ promotion at work achieves similar outcomes, though your approach will need to be more strategic and thoughtful.
Like your social media posts, self promotion at work is not a one time event. It’s an ongoing sharing and demonstration of your value. Why shouldn’t others know about your value?
So, let’s get started! You have several strategies at your disposal to effectively and professionally integrate ‘selfie’ promotion into your daily routines. I’ve assembled these best practices from my personal experience and network of successful professionals who were eager to share their advice. Thanks to those of you who shared your ideas!
Be sure to follow all the articles in this series. I promise you’ll have at least ten to fifteen strategies in your toolkit.
Your Professional Self-Promotion Toolkit
Schedule 1-on-1 Meetings
Most professionals believe their boss knows all about what they’re doing since they see each other everyday. That’s one of the biggest misperceptions getting in your way. Set up a standing meeting with your boss every two weeks. Prepare for the meeting by tracking your accomplishments and status of ongoing projects. Update your boss on how you’re adding value to the business.
“I think it starts with direct managers and making sure they clearly understand everything you’re doing. I took for granted that they knew what I was doing and found out they had no idea…..Make sure there’s a clear understanding of what you do so that person can represent you at the table. It’s hard to promote something you don’t know about.” Melanie S. , Neustar, Inc. (FuelForward book, pp. 106-107)
Marie R. with Anthem, Inc. uses a spreadsheet to share updates in the weekly status meetings with her boss. She organizes the spreadsheet into two worksheets – 1) her ongoing work and progress, and 2) her accomplishments.
“I prioritize my list for review in our 1:1 (emailed to her the night before we meet) so we are sure to have time to discuss what’s ‘hot’, and the things of lesser importance, which might not get covered, won’t be quite so crucial. But – and this is where it can make tooting your own horn seem more natural – I am sure to cover ‘closed’ items first, and move through them quickly.” Marie R., Anthem, Inc.
Share emails, notes and photos
Accolades from others are the greatest praise we can receive. But, the messages don’t always get to the ones who need to hear them. Be proactive in sharing your value via the complimentary emails and notes you receive.
Sierra A. with GE shares her approach: “What I usually try to do is forward my boss anything positive one of her peers has said about me. I also copy her on a response I have to someone if further down in the email the person has complimented my work.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Share photographs of teams you’ve worked with, events you’ve helped plan, or conferences you’ve attended. Pictures showing how others are benefiting from your work usually make an impression.
I’m a big fan of pictures from events that I’ve attended or was part of the planning committee. For example, I just concluded my 2nd year on the Salsa, Soul, Sushi and Samosas (SSSS) Board of Directors. The efforts culminate to the annual SSSS social event that celebrates cultural diversity. I’ve forwarded the BOD photo from the event to my co-workers.” Angella W., Leadership Louisville Center
Take the lead in facilitating or presenting in various meetings. This effectively demonstrates your ability to communicate and to lead groups. With this approach, you get to show what you can do. You’re demonstrating a variety of skills that some people may not have the opportunity to observe from you otherwise.
“Leading meetings can be a way of ensuring others can see your value as well!“ Sierra A., GE Appliances
“I have been working to (lead or work on) cross-functional teams for exposure in other areas, …..and to present often in front of my manager and others.” Cynthia L., UTC Building & Industrial Systems