We all know a big noter. The kind who talks a good game though lacks substance when it comes to delivery. They can be overbearing, self-centred and clearly out for themselves. Their boastful personality can be jarring to genuine, humble, hardworking team members causing them to shy away from their own self-promotion for fear of coming across similarly.
Being known and respected for your work provides many benefits - for ourselves, our leaders, our colleagues, and the industry.
For individuals, being highly valued in the field can help advance your career, provide additional job security, and open the door to new opportunities within and outside your current role. When our expert position is validated by praise, reward, or recognition, we feel a sense of pride, purpose, and achievement.
Organisations gain enormous benefit by hiring thought leaders in the field. Aside from the obvious upside of their expertise, having highly respected employees helps attract new clients and talent who want to learn from the best. By association, organisations with top talent tend to gain momentum and competitive advantage through the top talent they attract and hire.
However, for many talented individuals they fly under the radar as self-promoting doesn’t come naturally. It may feel disingenuous, fake, and even self-interested. We expect that our work should be enough to see us shine through. Yet, our work is becoming less and less visible as remote working becomes an accepted part of our working life. The extra hours put in, the time spent going above and beyond, the conversations by the coffee machine and the team whiteboards are no longer in plain sight.
Once we start thinking about self-promotion as a service to others and our organisation as much as ourselves, it changes our mindset. Further, self-promotion is so much more than bragging about our successes and achievements, it is about having a clear idea of what we stand for, deciding where we wish to develop our expertise and creating opportunities to show our greatness – without needing to brag.
Here, we share 8 ways you can “give yourself a promotion” without coming across as arrogant.
1. Count for something
Before you start promoting your achievements, you need to be sure you can walk-the-walk, or no amount of self-promotion will get you by when there is nothing to back it up.
What does an expert in your field look like? What skills and traits have they developed? How do they behave? Who is someone you admire and respect? What do you wish to be known for?
They say that someone who stands for everything stands for nothing so pick a lane and decide how you wish to be perceived in your professional life. Once you have established what that looks like, you can set goals and step out on a path to their achievement.
2. Give respect to gain it
Each day, we interact with peers, leaders and colleagues who are seeing us in action which is a form of “personal publicity”. Those who are respected in their field give respect to others. Simple gestures like honouring commitments, respecting other’s time and being appreciative when others go above and beyond all goes a long way to boost your reputation. You cannot underestimate how much value there is in being a reliable, trustworthy peer, leader, or colleague.
On the other hand, being disrespectful can be extremely damaging to your reputation. If you don’t deliver, keep people waiting and are unappreciative then you can’t expect to be held in high regard.
3. Make every interaction count
Whether it be a conversation in an elevator, coffee with a supplier, a casual chat between meetings or a meeting with another team, think about how you present yourself. If you come across as tired, overwhelmed, stressed, emotional or unprofessional, this is an opportunity wasted. If you are upbeat, interested, professional in these interactions, then the other person walks away with a strong impression of their association with you – easy self-promotion.
If you are asked about your day and you say “Oh, it's ok” that is a missed opportunity. You could use this time to say “I’m having a great day; we’re working on project XYZ and today the team has achieved X!”
While we can’t always be at our best, when we realise the impact of these small interactions, we can try to make them as meaningful as possible.
4. Take the lead on improvement initiatives
Whether a simple initiative designed to improve efficiencies or a major project with big impact, leading an improvement initiative gives you the chance to be seen by people outside your immediate co-worker circle. In many cases, project style work involves working across functions and has visibility at senior levels - all giving you a real chance to build your credibility.
Further, most organisations appreciate it when people use their initiative to devise a plan to do things better, faster, or easier so don’t shy away from suggesting new ways of working. In doing so, you will showcase your ability to analyse and improve situations which has a flow-on self-promotion effect. Odds are your achievements will be shared with others, shining a light on your efforts within the organisation.
5. Become a thought leader
Get comfortable with the idea of becoming a thought leader. While it may seem a little unnerving at first, thought leadership is about generously sharing learnings, hints, and tips for the benefit of others – often in the public arena.
So, launch and build your media presence whether through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Remember, you are in complete control here and you can strategise how and what you communicate and share.
Research by LinkedIn and Edelman has shown there are some serious benefits to thought leadership, including enhanced brand reputation, building decision maker’s trust, the creation of conversations, as well as helping to close business. It is a helpful tool for building your reputation and attracting new opportunities.
6. Don’t tell me – show me
If there is an industry event, put your hand up to speak. If there is a presentation needed at work, volunteer. If the organisation is seeking people to help train others, jump in line! When we take on these opportunities, it allows us to showcase our skills, knowledge, and expertise rather than just talk about it.
7. Get involved cross-functionally
Many workplaces have committees, which focus on different areas of interest outside of current roles. Some may be involved with community and social initiatives, while others may be project, or initiative focused. In most cases, they involve additional duties, an end goal and teamwork – all of which expands the number of people who get to have first-hand experience working with you.
8. Pitch yourself
There will be times when it will be important to speak up and share your achievements. Perhaps it is at your performance review, in a team meeting or when talking with a client or supplier. Often, we are asked to introduce ourselves in meetings and that can be a time where it is expected you establish your credibility.
The secret here is learning how to share your skills, experience, credentials as an expert without coming across as arrogant. Some people use humour, others remain factual, some will focus on what they are working towards which can show expertise in a humble way.
These opportunities will come up time and time again in your career so having a well-rehearsed elevator pitch you can deliver in your own way will ensure these self-promotion opportunities are handled with confidence.
While some people struggle to share and acknowledge their accomplishments, others, are quite comfortable ‘blowing their own trumpet’. When you take all the research into account, you will find that the right amount of self-promotion in the right places is more than welcome. Not only will it build your brand, it will also position you as both a likeable and competent choice for future job opportunities.
A healthy dose of self-promotion is ideal if you want to move ahead in your career.
• New ways of working such as remote and virtual workspaces mean leaders and employers need to find creative ways to showcase their work and self-promotion is one solution.
• Thought leadership and a professional online social media presence will help you build your personal brand.
• Participating in broader organisational activities can help you expand your network and reach a wider audience.
• Make sure you take advantage of opportunities that arise where you can showcase your skills and achievements.
If you need any assistance with hiring, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.