It's not enough to just perform your job well anymore. Professionals need to distinguish themselves in the workplace in order to earn promotions and recognition or in some cases, to avoid being downsized. The art of self promotion is a necessity but walking the line between humble confidence and bad bragging can be difficult.
The power of networking is obvious to the job seeker but networking within your organization is just as important for the gainfully employed. There are ways to market your strengths at work that will make the powers that be aware of your accomplishments and empower you with self assurance. But don't wait for your boss or supervisor to notice what you do well; be ready to articulate why you are a value-add and an indispensable team member.
Here are some techniques to help you on your way to artful self promotion:
• Massage the network inside your organization. Seek out constructive feedback beyond the standard performance review and establish relationships with those that can serve as mentors.
• Being competent in the required skill set for the respective job is a requirement and a given. Distinguish yourself by honing emotional intelligence competencies such as adaptability, innovation, initiative, resilience, perseverance and integrity. These above- and-beyond skills will distinguish you as an exceptional performer.
• Define your specialty. If you can become an expert at something necessary to make your organization run smoothly, you can set yourself up to be the go-to person in times of need. Your ability to solve the difficult problem or save the day as the one person on the team that can accomplish a task will make you a sought after professional.
• Be seen and heard at work and get to know your colleagues on your team and in other departments. If you have aspirations of moving upwards in an organization, become acquainted with the upper level players and make sure they know what you do for the company. Creating a buzz about yourself in the workplace prevents you from working in isolation and a vacuum.
• Play well on your team. Being a good team member builds strong collegial relationships and helps you broaden your skill set. Team work is an opportunity to be connected to people from other groups and divisions. This enhances your ability to gain promotions and take on new responsibilities with better visibility in your organization.
• Develop a portfolio. Assemble an archive of the work you have accomplished in a 6 month time period. Showcase your strengths, awards, special projects and solicit endorsements from colleagues or clients. This professional scrapbook of what you do well can be a great tool when it comes time for a promotion review. Often a boss or supervisor is too busy with their own work to have an accurate understanding of the true value you bring to the organization. The portfolio serves as a record and helps you reflect on what you have done well so you can articulate this clearly to others.
Learning to be your own best advocate on the job can take some mental furniture re-arranging. But, if you don't look out for yourself, nobody else will. You can take charge of your career journey by self promoting with humble confidence.
Caroline Dowd-Higgins pens a career transition blog called This Is Not the Career I Ordered www.notthecareeriordered.com She is also the Director of Career & Professional Development at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Follow Caroline Dowd-Higgins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CDowdHiggins