Whether you’re looking for a job or climbing the corporate ladder, others are going to have to know about your accomplishments and what you can do. Odds are, no one will know how valuable you are unless you speak up and talk about yourself.
For many, self-promotion feels awkward and sounds like bragging. No one wants to hear someone talk endlessly about how awesome they are, but if no one knows about your skills and abilities, you could miss out on several opportunities to work or get promoted. Here are ways you can effectively self-promote without sounding like a loudmouth.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Becoming known doesn’t happen overnight. Self-promotion is about building lasting relationships that develop over time. A reputation isn’t instantaneous, it’s earned. You need to take your time to let your creativity flourish. Despite what people say, your best, most creative work doesn’t come under pressure. You have to establish trust and respect, and you can’t do that quickly or with sloppy work.
Start slowly by placing small, easily achievable goals for self-promotion. Things like going to an industry event, meeting an influencer or industry leader for lunch, or writing a blog or guest column in a publication are great ways to get started. Make sure you track your progress so you can have something to measure as the months go by.
Know When to Hold ‘Em, and Know When to Fold ‘Em
The importance of self-promotion isn’t just in what you say, but it’s also in what you don’t say. You are trying to establish a personal brand, and now that you have goals established, you have to do what will achieve those goals. If you work construction, you may want to make bold statements about a new type of material that could strengthen bases or a new tool that could speed up production on tile installation. But being vocal about your opinions on internal politics, labor disputes, or gossip doesn’t help you become known for your skills, creative ideas, or accomplishments. Talking about things not pertinent to your area of expertise won’t help you meet your goals.
Know What you Can’t Do
The more general you try to be, the more forgettable you’ll be. That’s why it’s important to specialize when self-promoting. When branding yourself, find one to three specific skills that are your best, develop and work on those skills, and then promote them. When you become an expert in a few areas, you will stand out among your peers and leaders. Most of the time, generalists look weak or lacking in direction while specialists are seen as committed to what they are good at. When you specialize, you don’t even have to focus on your strongest abilities. Sometimes you will notice a need in your field or company that needs to be met and no one is filling it. That way, you won’t be bragging as much as you’re trying to fill a gap in your industry or with your employer.
Self-promotion can be scary and feel self-centered, but you have to get your name out there if you want leaders and decision makers to remember you when opportunity knocks. What are your strengths? How can you tell others about your accomplishments?
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