Category Archives: Rising Talent Strategies

self-promotion toolkit

Rising Talent Strategies – Self-Promotion Toolkit

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

Lead Meetings

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

Read Part 3 Of “The Art Of Self Promotion”

Rising Talent Strategies

Rising Talent Strategies – The ART of Self Promotion

A few weeks ago, I asked for input from my network of up and coming, established and veteran professionals on the best rising talent strategies a “rising star” can use to successfully promote yourself within your workplace and network. Thank you to those who shared your ideas. From this input and my personal experience, I presented a workshop on the most effective self-promotion strategies for the National Society of Black Engineers’ Professional Development conference in Hartford, CT.

I have assembled these best practices in a series of 5 articles to share with you.

What is Self Promotion?

Many up and coming professionals have a negative perception of the concept of self-promotion. Comments I often hear are “I feel like I’m bragging.” “I don’t feel comfortable talking about myself.” “I don’t want to take all the credit.” “I’m a team player.”

Do any of these sound familiar?

The approach you use to promote yourself can certainly come off as these statements describe. However, I invite you to shift your mindset around self-promotion in order to perceive it as an opportunity to think positively.

I define self-promotion as a way of communicating & demonstrating your value.

How much value do you believe that you add to your organization?

The more value you perceive you add, the more you have a story to share.

“What I’ve learned is that I need not be so humble.  I’ve always been of the mindset that you should not brag on yourself and that has been a barrier for me.  I had the word ‘brag’ in my mind vs ‘self-promote’.”    Tammye H.,  Brown-Forman Corp

Why Is Promoting Yourself Important?

Human nature

Our nature as human beings is to feel comfortable with people we know and have built a relationship with. We create perceptions based on what we see (or think we see), our personal interactions with people, or what we hear from others. Right or wrong, those perceptions form our beliefs about people. If we don’t tell our own story, those perceptions become who we are.

Fundamental to career advancement

These perceptions carry over into your working relationships. People interact with you with these perceptions in mind. Managers make hiring decisions and project assignments based on these perceptions. If people don’t know you and your ‘value’, or if they have the wrong perceptions of you, your career will suffer as a result.   One of my workshop participants noted that “your personal value is worthless if nobody knows about it.” Promoting yourself is fundamental to career advancement. It has to become a natural part of what you do.

“For me, it occurred over time and trial and error. I observed others who were really good at it. They were ‘cleaning my clock” and I realized that if I didn’t “promote myself” then no one in the organization would do it for me. You have to find that delicate balance to not spend too much of your time promoting yourself, but It has to become a natural part of who you are.”   Al C., Norton Healthcare


Rising Talent Strategies – More than “getting the job done”

Many rising talent professionals also have the belief that “if I keep my head down and work hard, I’ll get promoted.” Yes, hard work is required to get promoted, but hard work alone won’t get you promoted. Though self-promotion begins by having a value story to share, your track record of execution and accomplishments, you have to actively manage your Reputation.

Who are the key individuals that need to know who you are, and what do they need to know about you?

You’re going to be very strategic about those connections you make.

Ralph deChabert is the Chief Diversity Officer for Brown-Forman Corporation and is one of the leaders I interviewed for my FuelForward book. He reminds us that “If you don’t tell your own story by managing it, somebody is going to create a story for you. I don’t know your story until you tell it to me. Telling your story is terribly important, because someone else may write a different story for you.”(FuelForward book p. 109)

You have to decide what you want your brand to stand for and how you want to be represented. (For more on managing your brand, check out Chapter 6 of the FuelForward book, beginning on p. 75.)

Keep in mind that self-promotion is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing conversation and demonstration. You have several strategies at your disposal to be able to effectively and professionally integrate self-promotion into your daily routines. My next article shows you how…

Read Part 2 Of “The Art of Self-Promotion