A Universal Approach for Strategic Self-Promotion

Woman celebrating with smile on her face while working with laptop in front of her in a bright and bright and airy room
September 20, 2023
Every professional deserves their own Happy Mondays — a space where their value shines brightly and their achievements get the recognition they merit. But, as we know, the journey to that isn't always straightforward. It's time to embrace the holistic art of self-promotion.

The misunderstood world of self-promotion
Too many of us stay in the shadows, hesitant to step into the spotlight. Whether it's societal norms, the weight of gender expectations, or merely our own inner critic whispering that we might be "bragging," we hold back. But ponder this: if you aren’t your own advocate, who will champion your cause?

If you're struggling to take a step towards self promotion, think about the risk of not doing it. Your career progression, salary, chances of getting certain projects will likely get affected.

Is the discomfort of self promotion worth the negative impact it can have in your career? If the answer is yes, but not at all costs, here are a few ideas to help you find your own authentic way to self promote.

Self promotion is a marathon, not a sprint.
When we make it a sprint, it might feel inauthentic and opportunistic. Instead, small continuous steps demonstrate your commitment to the organisation through your work and actions.

For example: a weekly email to your boss that highlights what you've been working on this week over time will give them a good visibility of your work. You don't need to create a 30 minute powerpoint at the end of the year to summarise all your achievements. Here are a few of our best tips:

Define Your Goals & Personal Brand
Be clear about your career goals and what you want to be known for.

Thinking prompts:
• What are the personal qualities you want to be known for?
• What are the adjectives you would like to be associated with? For instance:
• She is very thorough, delivers on time, she is a problem solver, etc.
• Use those as your core values and have them top of mind in every interaction and conversation.
• Consider: to continue being seen as a thorough person, what would I do/say in this situation?

Understand & Connect With Your Audience:
Understand key decision-makers or influencers within your organisation who can help you achieve those goals.

Thinking prompts:
• What are their priorities?
• How could you help them get their priorities sorted?
• What would you need from them?
• Why would they be interested in supporting you?

It’s also important to know who might support or obstruct you from achieving your goals. Awareness here can help you befriend those people or plan ways to navigate around them.

As we look at self promo as a marathon, what we care about is cultivating positive working relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and mentors. A strong network can amplify your self-promotion efforts. Seek opportunities to collaborate and support others in their projects as well.

Communicate Your Achievements:
Having in mind who needs to know about your achievements is key. Don't assume others know about your accomplishments. Communicate your achievements in a humble and authentic manner. When you recognise your own efforts and contribution, it will help others see them too.
Use performance reviews, one-on-one meetings, and team discussions as platforms to share your successes.

If you struggle to speak up, perhaps send an email to your manager with your key monthly achievements. Or forward them an email sent by a client/colleague that thanks you for your support.

It is also very important to inform your boss/key decision makers of what you're working on. Sometimes people don't really know what you're working on, which negatively affects their visibility of your accomplishments. And thus, their ability to advocate for yourself.

Seek Opportunities for Visibility:
The idea of being visible may sound daunting to some, and if it is, identify the specific reasons why you feel hesitant about being more visible. Is it fear of judgement, imposter syndrome or concerns about overcommitment? Understanding these barriers will help you address them.

Strategically, you can:
1. Volunteer for high-impact projects, or seek opportunities with cross-functional teams, specially those your key audience is involved. These opportunities can showcase your skills and give them a taste of your capabilities.

2. Engage in leadership or development initiatives within your company, these groups often interact with key-decision makers and provide you exposure to a wider network.

3. If you have expertise in a field, consider where you can share your insights or provide training for others to enhance your reputation. For example, you may be able to contribute to an internal newsletter or host a lunch and learn session for a project team.

Be open
Openness plays a pivotal role in refining your skills, identifying areas for improvement and building relationships with others.
Seek constructive feedback from mentors, supervisors, and peers to identify areas for improvement. Use feedback as a tool for growth and demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional development.

This feedback also can help you pinpoint what key people value most from your work.

Explore different opportunities to grow yourself. That could be through training but also shadowing, getting stretch assignments, etc.
Remember that self-promotion is not about arrogance or self-centeredness but about showcasing your value and contributions to the organisation. Understand that self-promotion is a long-term endeavour. Promotions and career advancements may not happen overnight. Stay patient, maintain your consistency, and continue adapting your approach as needed. You can do this in an authentic way!

Ready to Elevate Your Professional Journey?
Navigating the path of self-promotion can feel challenging. If you resonate with this article but seek expert guidance to master your self-promotion strategy, we're here to support. Book in for a free call with one or our seasoned career coaches.

The Happy Mondays Co career coaching was founded in 2016 with a mission to make the world a better place for professionals, one Happy Monday at a time. Awarded top career coach in Singapore and top career coach in Melbourne, we pride ourselves on empowering professionals to excel in their careers with a personalised, results focused approach grounded in empathy, candour and confidence.

Ready to create your Happy Mondays?

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