This blog post was originally published at https://executivecareersuccess.com/ and has been republished here with permission.
Of all of the essential career advancement strategies, self-promotion is one of the most dreaded. All of the professionals I work with recognize the importance of self-promotion to their overall success but few feel comfortable engaging in the process. To their credit, my clients are humble, hard-working professionals who would find it completely inauthentic to obnoxiously toot their own horns. But, as I always say, self-promotion is not self-serving; it’s a service to others.
In your role, you operate as part of a larger team. Your role within that team is to provide clear and specific value. If others don’t understand the value you offer, or the ways in which you can support them, you deprive them of an opportunity to leverage your expertise. It hurts you and your organization if you are your company’s best kept secret.
So, what can you do to promote your value that doesn’t require you to engage in shameless self-aggrandizement? Here are three painless steps you can take:
Actively speak up in meetings
Most of us spend a great deal of our work time in meetings. This often feels like a frustrating use of time. But, actively engaging in meetings is a great way to promote yourself and your value. Rather than quietly multi-task in the back of the room, sit prominently and contribute your thoughts to the discussion. Regardless of your role, you bring a unique perspective to every conversation. Your insights have the power to influence the direction of the discussion. And, in the process, others hear your viewpoint and witness first-hand your expertise and value.
Another way to promote yourself in meetings, particularly if you don’t feel ready to contribute your thoughts directly, is to ask smart questions. The questions you ask can establish you as someone who is a strategic or astute thinker. They give people a window into your thought process. Avoid the basic questions that can be answered offline or through another resource. Focus on questions that stimulate discussion and get people thinking.
Build strategic relationships
Strategic relationships are the greatest way to build your visibility and promote your value. When you invest in strategic relationships, you give others an opportunity to learn more about your role, your work and your unique expertise. And you give yourself a chance to talk about your work in more organic, mutually beneficial ways.
For example, seek out an influential leader in your organization whose work is tied to yours. Request an opportunity to sit down with him/her to discuss shared goals, review recent accomplishments, share key initiatives that you’re working on, and ask how you can better support that team’s efforts. Then establish a plan for communicating on a more consistent basis. In the process of having this discussion, you’re not only directly sharing your value and accomplishments, you’re also demonstrating initiative, communication skills, relationship building, and other important leadership capabilities.
Engage in cross-functional projects
You may be a master at your job but if only your team knows what you do, you’re not getting the visibility you deserve. To promote your value more broadly, you need to become involved in activities that expand your reach. Seek opportunities to engage in cross-functional initiatives where you can demonstrate your expertise to people across the organization.
There are several approaches you can take to identify cross-functional projects. First, consider what you know about bigger organizational activities based on your own interactions with others outside of your team. Are there projects already in place that you can step into and begin to show your value? Second, ask your manager for his/her thoughts. He/she may be open to having you represent your team in meetings that they typically attend. Lastly, do you see an opportunity to spearhead a more collaborative initiative? If so, take the lead!
As much as we wish it would, our work doesn’t speak for itself. It’s not enough to do great work. You need to take an active role in ensuring that others understand and appreciate what you do. These three strategies can help you.
Are you looking for self promotion strategies to help advance your career? During this webinar, Kim Meninger will offer tips to help women get ahead. Register now!