Self-Promotion Is Not Nasty, It’s Necessary For Your Career

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People often hesitate to self-promote. But if you are going to get ahead professionally, self-promotion must be part of your strategy.

When you think of the word branding, what do you think of?

Company logos and slogans?

These elements are sticky, and hard to ignore.

And not just by adults, but kids too. In fact, research has shown children as young as five recognize brands and indicate brand preferences.

The Rise of Personal Branding

But branding is not just for companies anymore. The idea of personal branding has exploded over the last several years.

Previously, personal brands were something celebrities and reality TV stars had. Not anymore.

Today it’s not enough to submit a resume and cover letter to the job. You need to have more, a brand. A professional persona.

And part of building that personal and professional brand is self-promotion.

Self-Promotion Is Considered Taboo

We often think of promoting ourselves as unsavory.

We’re supposed to be humble and unassuming. We aren’t supposed to sing our own praises.

But in truth, the people who can demonstrate their value and worth are the ones who are most successful. And the best way to do that is through self-promotion.

Episode 4 addressed promotions and how it’s important to tell your boss you want one. Supervisors are not mind readers. You can’t expect them to assume you want to promotion.

It is also important to build your case and explain why you deserve a promotion.

The same principle applies to building your personal brand.

Supervisors cannot be expected to know all the things you do day-to-day. In fact, many of them are clueless about what you do most of the time.

It’s easy for them to overlook your contributions and value due to pure ignorance.

This is where self-promotion is critical.

Look for Opportunities to Delicately Self-Promote

Self-promotion can be a double-edged sword. Overly promoting yourself can result in poor performance reviews because you may come off as egotistical or not a team player.

But if given the opportunity to answer a question like “what are your strengths?” talk about them. Being shy or coy can backfire and make you appear untrustworthy.

Another way to self-promote is when your boss or colleagues ask about the work you’re doing. 

Rather than using it as an opportunity to complain, take advantage of being asked and show you are not only meeting KPIs, but exceeding expectations.

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Here in Australia, Tall Poppy Syndrome is prevalent.

If you are unfamiliar with the term it comes from the idea that poppies (a kind of flower) should grow together. If one poppy grows too tall, it gets cut down to size to look like all the other flowers in the field.

Translated for the workplace: Be humble. Don’t stand out amongst your peers. Downplay your achievements if necessary to blend in with the crowd.

Tall Poppy Syndrome makes my job harder because rockstar employees hesitate to own their achievements. They avoid taking credit, even when credit is due.

Ultimately, self-promotion is necessary if you want to get ahead professionally. It is critical in terms of building your personal brand. 

3 Ways to Effectively Self-Promote

  1. Get other people to promote you.

One way of doing this is by asking for feedback. People love to offer opinions.

If you work with a client, ask for a testimonial. Or ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation. 

  1. List your accomplishments on LinkedIn.

Go beyond listing awards and accolades.

Post about a project you just completed. And mention how proud you are of the outcome.

  1. Celebrate others, particularly when their success is tied to you.

If your team scored a big account or met with a client who acknowledged your hard work, give kudos to the team for their effort. By doing this you are promoting others first, and your self-promotion is an ancillary benefit.

Self-promotion may not be second nature to many of us, but it plays an important part in helping us build our personal brand and professional reputation.