Using self-promotion can help you move up the ladder at work. Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to get a promotion, while a co-worker with the same level of experience, motivation and tenure has been promoted to manager? Your colleague has probably mastered the art of using a personal publicity campaign to increase her visibility. If you’d like to move up the ladder at work as well, perhaps it’s time for you to put your best foot forward using self-promotion.
If you’re like many people, you may be uncomfortable using self-promotion strategies to get ahead. After all, shouldn’t steady, standout work be enough to yield professional rewards? In an ideal world, yes — but in today’s fast-paced work environment, your manager might be too busy with his or her duties to keep tabs on your accomplishments and reward them appropriately.
The good news is that boasting is not a requirement. Instead, self-promotion includes openly sharing your ideas in meetings, volunteering for leadership roles and making a concerted effort to understand your company’s business goals. Here are some tips to help your personal publicity campaign:
Understand the Big Picture
Learn as much as you can about your company’s mission and how your role fits in with these objectives. Try to understand the priorities of your boss and your boss’s manager. That way you’ll be better able to focus on those concerns in your own work.
Make Suggestions for Improvement
Do you have an idea that would increase productivity or reduce the budget in your department? Sharing these ideas with management is a great way to show initiative and interest in your firm. You’ll add more value by tailoring your recommendations to fit your company’s overall mission.
Enhance Your Soft Skills
Your interpersonal skills are often as important as your technical skills. Strive for diplomacy in email, phone and one-on-one communication. For instance, if you’re in a technical position, simplify your explanations to non-technical workers, avoiding jargon they may not recognize. Humour is an effective way to help people feel at ease, as long as you avoid sarcastic remarks and jokes made at the expense of others.
Be a Team Player
Display a willingness to pitch in and help the group achieve its collective goals. Recognize that people have different work styles, and that there is usually no right way to accomplish a task. Listen to and acknowledge your co-workers’ ideas, and offer praise for work well done.
Discuss Your Goals
Schedule time with your manager to talk about your career-related goals and objectives. Many employees mistakenly assume their boss is aware of their aspirations. By opening the lines of communication, you’ll make your supervisor aware of your goals, allowing her to assign you projects that will help you advance in your career.
Don’t wait for your annual performance review to ask your boss how you’re doing. Request regular meetings with your manager, perhaps every 45 or 60 days, to discuss your work-related strengths as well as areas for improvement. You can also ask your manager for strategies to become a more valuable employee or to work toward a promotion.
Get More Experience
Often a lack of experience is the only thing hindering your career development. If it’s management experience you need, take on volunteer projects for local non-profit groups. If your technical skills are out of date, consider online courses or certification in a specific technology. If you are a freelancer, design your own website highlighting your skills. This will also boost your credibility.
Track Your Accomplishments
A carefully documented list of achievements is useful during performance reviews as well as interviews — it’s tangible evidence of your contributions to your employer. You may want to keep a personal personnel file and update it regularly.
You don’t have to be a public relations expert to use self-promotion at work. But you should set goals to work well with co-workers, continually improve your skills and develop new ones, and diplomatically let others know of your accomplishments. Adopting these personal PR strategies will not only help you get noticed at work, it may also lead you to new opportunities. In no time, you’ll be on the path to achieving your professional goals.
With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Asia, Robert
Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for
initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com.
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