It is common for many professionals – especially women – to be uncomfortable with the concept of self-promotion at work. It may feel like you are bragging or hogging the spotlight if you talk about your successes and attributes. Yet most agree that effective self-promotors often have more opportunities – and therefore success – in their careers. Research shows that women often hold themselves to much stricter standards than men, often underestimate their own contributions, and therefore don’t tend to talk about their accomplishments. It’s important to understand that modesty is not always a virtue – especially if influencers in your career simply aren’t aware of your successes.
Here are few ways you can be sure that the right people know about your accomplishments – and your future goals – without making you feel as though you are crossing the line.
Change the way you think about self-promotion. Self-promotion is a career strategy that can be done appropriately and with class. Try thinking about it as simply stating facts rather than talking about yourself too much. Most workplaces have established objective and concrete metrics for success so try connecting your accomplishments to your employer’s metrics – such as sales, growth, customer service or industry recognition. If you choose your timing and audience carefully and avoid blatant over self-promotion, it is a powerful tool.
Accept credit and compliments graciously. It is incredibly powerful to simply and graciously say “thank you” when someone recognizes your efforts, talent or accomplishments. You can certainly share the credit as appropriate, but consistently deflecting compliments or refusing to take credit actually weakens your personal brand.
Make sure your advocates and allies know. Share your successes with the people you know well, and make sure that they know you are hoping to get the word out to the influencers in your company/profession/industry/community. You don’t have to ask them directly to tell others about you, but let them know you aren’t sure how to make sure leadership knows – they’ll likely offer to help you.
Connect your accomplishments. You can maintain your humility by connecting your recent victories to how you have grown as a professional, acknowledging how you have had to get better over time, including overcoming past mistakes and weaknesses. You should also connect your success to where you want to go, and what new challenges and roles you are ready for. Explain how your recent successes have prepared you for the future.
Remember that good publicity for you is also good publicity for your employer. Publicly sharing your achievements – such as receiving an industry award or being named to a board of directors – is a great way to make your company and coworkers look good, internally and externally. Connecting your success back to the overall goals/culture of your employer is also a good strategy.