If you’re like most professionals, when you first entered the working world, you focused on producing quality work. You wanted to do a good job and learn as much as you can, but you might not have immediately thought to self-promote.
Then, at some point, you realized it’s not just about “doing your work.” In order to move things forward in your organization and to progress in your career, you need influence, recognition, and respect.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by self-promoting. And yes, I know you don’t want to sound like you’re bragging. Instead, you’re going to learn 3 high-level strategies to “self-promote” in ways that are authentic and practical.
1. SAY YES TO SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES
The first strategy is saying yes to speaking opportunities. It’s something that many professionals spend their careers avoiding, but if you want to raise your profile, this is a non-negotiable.
If this sounds intimidating, a gentler place to start is by raising your hand to ask questions in meetings and discussions. From there, you can start offering ideas, especially in large group discussions.
Another crucial element that often gets looked over: present your own work! I still remember a project I worked on for 6 months, only to watch someone else present it because I didn’t advocate for myself. You can avoid this by stepping up. Even if it’s a small part of a larger project, offer to jump in and present that portion.
If you’re not getting asked to speak, you can create opportunities to speak. Give updates to the company or your department at a lunch session or jump into a cross-functional initiative. You can talk about your team’s accomplishments, lessons learned from projects, or celebrate a recent milestone.
Other places for speaking opportunities:
- Meetups at work
- Company events (recruiting events, public events)
2. GET INVOLVED IN PROJECTS BEYOND YOUR JOB
Besides putting yourself out there with speaking opportunities, you also can get involved in projects beyond your responsibilities to help raise your profile. Take initiative by volunteering at company events and by attending networking events, meetups, conferences, internal workshops and company promotional events.
By doing this, you’ll be exposed to other influential people inside and outside the company. You’ll also get more experience – helping you be better at your job, create more value in the company and become more of an industry expert. And it could just be fun!
Some more examples are:
- Host your own educational workshops: lesson learned presentations, toastmaster group, offsite for team, networking event
- Get involved in promotional videos for the company
- Participate in Meetup events, networking events, virtual events, panels.
- Participate in rotation programs
3. CONNECT WITH LEADERSHIP
One of the easiest ways to self-promote is by connecting with the higher-ups in your company. Starting with your direct manager and above.
With your manager, it’s important to feed them one-liners about your accomplishments and achievements on a consistent basis. This will help her keep “sound bytes” about you when promotion time comes around.
People above your manager also need to know you and know of you work. “Skip-level” meetings are crucial for this. A good way to handle the skip level meeting is to give context on your project and accomplishments and then ask for feedback on an upcoming milestone. Then go back and update the higher up once that new milestone is achieved and thank them for their feedback. This way they will know you as a person that gets things done.
Self-promotion is not important at the beginning of your career because your work quality will speak for you. But later in your career, work quality by itself will not be enough. Yes, you’ll have to start tooting your own horn and getting visibility for your work. If you don’t do that, someone else will take the credit and pass you on. The best three ways to self-promote are 1) public speaking at the company, 2) get involved with projects beyond your job responsibility, 3) skip-level meetings and make yourself known to company leadership.