Word Of the Week #592: Self-promotion

December 9, 2015 by  

Self-promotion – how you effectively highlight the benefits you bring.

How comfortable are you talking about your accomplishments to your supervisors? Have co-workers been promoted when you felt you were more deserving? Who knows what you know?

This week’s featured article “The value of self-promotion” comes from Jennifer Davies, the assistant dean of external affairs for UCSD Extension. She writes, “From an early age, we are taught that it’s not nice to brag. The problem is that too many employees take that childhood lesson to heart and are unable to effectively highlight how they benefit their organization. The effect can have a huge effect on a person’s career, said Rick Gillis, a job search expert and author of the ‘Promote: It’s who knows what you know that makes a career.’

“We need to instill in people that it is OK to speak about their value,’ he said. That doesn’t mean you should immediately dash off an email to your boss with a subject line: ‘I am awesome.’

Any self-promotion, Gillis said, must always be ‘consistent, appropriate and professional,’ and steeped in quantifiable metrics. To do that, he said employees need to assess and evaluate what they do and how it impacts the larger organization. Gillis recommends that employees do the following:

  1. Make a list – It can be easy to overlook or forget what you achieve at work on a daily a promotebasis. Gillis tells his clients to spend a few minutes each day listing both tasks and accomplishments as it helps provide the data to help craft a narrative on the value they deliver to an organization. If that process sounds daunting, he says there are more than a dozen apps that can help track that information.
  1. Let history repeat itself – You are more than your current job, so you may need to look back to get a better sense of your real value. He recommends reviewing old resumes, business planners, and performance evaluations. Reach out to personal and professional contacts and talk to them about the projects you worked on together to gain insight into what unique attributes you brought to the table.
  1. Quantify their work – ‘You were hired because someone trusted that you’d either make or give the company money.’ Gillis said, ‘If you are in sales, it may be about a boost in revenue. If you are human resources, it could be a reduction in turnover. If you are in marketing, it could be about an increase in brand awareness.’
  1. Understand the value equation – Every accomplishment needs to fit into a simple three-part statement that conveys what you did, what that resulted in and the value of it. For example: ‘Created a digital filing system that resulted in 300 man-hours saved per week, enabling the company to save $6 million annually.’

This week’s focus is on self-promotion. Have you ever assessed and evaluated what you do and how it impacts the larger organization? What are your unique attributes? Who knows what you know? Are you able to effectively highlight the benefit you bring? Who do you know that could help you with that?

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