If you are looking at being promoted or advanced in the company you are working, then you will have to get into the mode of self-promotion. I hear some of you groaning or saying ‘but I hate “peacocking”’. Whether you are in business or working for another business – if you want to get ahead – you have to ‘sell’ yourself. When it comes to promotions and advancement the ‘quiet achiever’ often gets overlooked. It’s all about perception and what you put out there, as much as your ability to do the job.
Here are my top tips on how to successfully self-promote yourself:
Show confidence, even when you may not be feeling it.
Be careful who you confide in if you have doubts; your confidant may turn out to be a gossiper and/or competing with you for a promotion. It’s important to appear confident, positive and calm. Boards want leaders who won’t crumble at the first sign of trouble.
Be a solution provider.
If you have a team and they come up with great ideas don’t hijack their ideas and claim as your own, but get it across to your superiors that it was a team effort and whilst giving that other person credit, take a little yourself. Take initiative and be proactive.
Be selective here. Don’t put your hand up for every little task; you won’t have the time. When an opportunity comes up, assess both its importance to the company and the opportunity for exposure to the Board. Yes, this is part of being strategic. If you assess something as an exceptional opportunity, then be sure to put your hand up to be involved, or better, lead that project.
And ensure you have an exceptional profile which is fully completed, updated and is more than just an online resume. Ensure you are connected with both your work colleagues, supervisors, senior executives as well as many people as possible outside your company, within your industry and outside your industry. Connect with the influencers of your industry.
Work your LinkedIn profile.
This is like a website for you personally – work it! Once your profile is up, don’t just set and forget. Add to it – post articles about wins you have had, or functions you’ve attended, when you’ve spoken at an event or promoting a charity you are involved in. This is NOT Facebook, so ensure that the tone of what you post is absolutely professional. For example, you would not post something say about Melbourne Cup, unless it was supporting a local well-deserving charity. Share articles on it that you have found useful OR even better get written yourself. Finally, start giving and asking for recommendations (as well as endorsements). Start with people you know well and keep it going. When a company is recruiting, promoting, or even poaching they will absolutely check you out online. If your profile isn’t right, then you won’t even get invited to submit your resume.
List your achievements.
This is helpful when preparing for a performance review or interview for a promotion. Be proud of your achievements and in a review, be sure to outline the items you have had a win on. Do this list regularly; you just never know when you’ll get called ‘up stairs’ to have a casual chat that turns out to be far more than casual. If ‘sprouting’ about yourself is difficult, then prep beforehand for that time when it might come up. Leaders are able to think on their feet … but that doesn’t mean a bit of pre-thought cannot occur first.
Dress the part.
Being great at your job, or working 16 hour days is not enough. Whether it’s the corporate world or business, perception is everything. Always dress one level above your current position, in other words, dress as if you ARE already in the position you are aiming for. If you are a State Manager and aiming for National Manager, then dress like the National Manager – every day! This is from head to toe and relates to both genders. Leaders are often public images and representatives of their company; so the Board or decision-makers want to see that you will represent their company in the right way.
Establish and develop quality relationships
With your boss, your colleagues, or other team members and especially those you want to notice you or who are influences in your sphere. When you get to a certain level, your prospective employer is looking for someone who will not only bring with them their skills and abilities but their connections as well. Who do you know? Expand your network and who you know … and remember to connect with those people on LinkedIn. This takes time, so start working on those relationships now.
Even a half-decent recruiter or employer who is considering promoting you will do a Google search and social media search of you first. Review your profile, pictures and how you come across. You may feel that your personal life is just that – but sorry, those days are long gone. Everything you (or your friends) post on social media is now public. As a recruiter myself, I’ve even reviewed the Facebook profiles of junior applicants to see what they are like. So that photo of you blind drunk last Saturday should NEVER get up on social media. Have a deal with your friends as well and if they won’t oblige, maybe it’s time to rethink who you are socialising with. Remember this “we are the sum of who we hang out with”.
Sharpen your skills.
Think about what you’d like to be known for or what will be necessary to take you to a management level. It might be a MBA or some other qualification. Get started now; the education will give you great skills and it’s great to have on your resume. Be sure to add this even if you have only started (and LinkedIn too) so that at least a prospective employer/promoter will see you are on the road. They will see you have enough faith in yourself to invest in your education, and so they might too.
Get out there.
Attend networking events, charity events or fundraisers. Be excellently presented and try to get into photos. If there isn’t an official photographer, have someone take a photo for you (ideally with someone of note) and post this picture on social media. Caption might be “So pleased to be at the XYZ fundraiser last night with ABC. This is such a worthy cause. If you’d like to make a donation, they are still accepting donations – just visit thefundraiser.com.au ”. Again, it comes back to being seen and being involved. Again, be selective; you can’t do everything, but many companies value community involvement.
You need to start thinking like a Marketer and marketing a product – YOU. Promote and sell the product so that when it comes time for a key role to be filled, your name comes to mind first. Yes, this takes time, but the rewards can be plentiful. I can be your Leadership Mentor, call me at 0411 622 666.