The Importance of Self-Promotion to Advance Your Career (Without Bragging)

With practical tips you can use in your job today

December 6, 2022
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Telling your story and self-promoting is a vital leadership skills in today's fast-paced work environment. In the social-media-driven world, everyone wants to make an impact with their story and their life. In the evolving world, a self-promotion is an essential tool every professional must learn, not only at senior levels but even at executive levels. 

We sat down with Margaret Buj, an experienced recruiter and interview coach specializing in helping professionals hire, recruit, and coach. She has 16 years of experience with global tech companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, and Facebook, among many others, across the US. She is recognized as the top career influencer and has achieved many accolades for her exceptional work. This blog will interest you if you want to learn the art and science of self-promotion and improve your visibility within any organization.

An official dictionary definition of self-promotion:

“The action of promoting or publicizing oneself or one's activities, especially in a forceful way. An act of furthering one's growth and advancement of prosperity is the promotion of oneself. Having established the official definition of self-promotion, it is essential to clarify that by self-promotion, we mean understanding your strength and sharing them with the world.”

It is crucial to strike a balance between sharing your ideas effectively which is still promoting but not coming too strong in a way that feels unauthentic or pretentious. It is always advisable to frame your ideas before indulging in self-promotion.

Why is there a need to tell anyone about anything?

An individual presence is crucial in the organization as that helps while promotion cycles. The results often speak for themselves, and there should not be a need to highlight one's efforts and hard work. At the same time, so many people perform extraordinarily at work, and no one knows about them. In case no one recognizes you, the promotion might take a backseat.

You have to promote yourself; talk about your accomplishments within the organization and industry and build a supportive network around you. Do it in a way that feels like a third thing. Eventually, it will help you reach your career goals faster.

Within the organization, so many believe that they do not want to engage in the act of self-promotion and let their work talk about themselves. In such cases, avoiding using the word 'self-promotion' is recommended as it may sound egocentric. With her years of coaching and expertise, Margaret shares how self-promotion is not just about you. It is also a win-win for your colleagues and managers as no one has the time to understand your talents and skills truly. So, if you can make it clear to them where you can contribute the most, you help the overall working of the organization.

It is also essential to focus on being of more outstanding service and personal branding to ensure your talents are used in the best possible way.

What are some of the ways to promote yourself?

  1. Get others to promote you - At first, self-promotion could feel awkward because you are tooting your own horn; however, to extend it a little bit by taking baby steps, consider having others do it for you. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right words to describe yourself, so using other people's healthy opinions is recommended to strengthen your work. For instance, when you deliver an excellent task, you typically get recognized by your peers or managers, or customers. It might be a verbal accolade, but it can be used for your promotional advantage.

    I suggest that you maintain a google document, and every time you receive feedback for your work, log it in there. Over the course of time, you will have a track record of everything your colleagues and seniors ever praised you for.
  2. Use online self-promotion- Whether you are self-employed or employed for an organisation, promoting yourself on your website or LinkedIn is crucial. One can increase their visibility through an online presence by showing your credentials from your work experience and any accolades you receive. This can help you distinguish yourself from your colleagues. Promote only the significant events and keep it short and crisp without having a self-bragging tone.
  3. Promote yourself and others at the same time- Giving praise is a lot easier than pushing for it. Through your appreciation for others, you can self-promote. For instance, after a project concludes, you can share what the team did and the tasks you were responsible for. Highlight how each of your team members contributed to the project's success and your impact on the project. This way, you share your achievements with the rest of the group.

How do you set yourself up for a promotion?

  1. It is crucial to be able to talk strategically about your work. You might want to focus on creating your presence through your work and becoming visible to the decision-makers in your organization. There are a lot of graceful ways which can be used to promote yourself. Depending on your organization's specific goals and objectives, you can drop in a recommendation email, discussing how your team completed a task or delivered a project. Many people do not acknowledge the extra hours they put in or any past achievements and accolades. Sometimes, we rationalize past successes, and they look less meaningful.
  2. Another trick that can help you set up a promotion is when you volunteer to take up tasks no one else wants to do. This way, people will know you are willing to go the extra mile and make sacrifices.
  3. Touching base regularly with your manager by indulging in conversations and communicating about the projects is suitable for self-promotion. These things remind your manager as to why you are an employee valuable. Updating your management without requiring a review or response is recommended, as that helps you stand out. It helps build an internal network and enables you to get praise to level up your promotion.
  4. Build your network inside and outside of the organization. While you are aiming to have your boss advocate for you, do not underestimate your peers. Try to get engaged with your peers beyond your workplace, as there can be a chance that they will advocate for you.
  5. Many women suffer from imposter syndrome within their organizations, and it is vital to have a plan for your promotion regardless of gender and color. Keep your proven track records and achievements ready right before the promotion cycle.

💡 When you receive a compliment from someone, a good practice is just to say 'thank you.' This is usually a healthy practice, as you are neither deflecting praise nor bragging about it. Learning to do it gracefully and not shying away just adds to your credit.

Having established tips on self-promotion, it is also essential to understand that it should not direct you to a better position or salary. Going through the act of self-promotion should also help you understand your proposition and the impact of your work. The business value your work creates can talk a lot about you.

Producing exceptional results and working hard shouldn't be the only way you rely on. Make sure you update everyone about your accomplishments and that you speak for yourself. This way you can move closer to the idea of a promotion

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