How to Sell & Promote Yourself At Work Without Bragging
Let’s face reality: Gone are the days when personal branding was only for celebrities or executives. Nonetheless, only few people know how to sell and promote themselves at work without bragging. Now it’s time to map out how the “Look at me!” strategy can catapult you to career success — and not just annoy your coworkers.
Most people at work will keep their head down, work hard and hope that their accomplishments will get them noticed.
Unfortunately, in today’s modern workplace, you can hinder your own progression by forgetting to add a bit of polish to your reputation. Whether you like it or not, promoting yourself at work is actually a valid part of the workplace culture.
We all know that one person at work — the one who never misses an opportunity to pump up his own work.
Meanwhile, you keep your head down, work hard, and keep the faith that your accomplishments will get noticed and you’ll get the recognition you deserve. Unfortunately, unless you’re hoping to build up a stash of karma points, you’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping quiet.
Sometimes, self-promotion seems showy and braggy and icky.
We are not talking about overtly bragging or being brash, just making sure you promote yourself in a balanced and considered way so people see you in a positive light. You need to find ways to demonstrate confidence — in the service of creating opportunities —–without seeming self-congratulatory or off-putting.
By doing this, you can establish yourself as an authority in your field and a valuable member of your working team.
Unless you’re in business for yourself or looking for a job, the idea of selling yourself may not sound like anything that concerns you. But it’s a skill everyone needs to master. Understand the basics and you’ll be prepared to promote yourself as an expert without bragging. Here are 5 proven strategies for promoting yourself successfully and effectively.
Secret #1 - Seize Opportunities
In this current economy, employers are spending more time stealing talent than they are hiring job seekers. If you’re a highly skilled employee then you probably already receive LinkedIn messages from recruiters.
You need to be open to opportunities because if you’re closed, you might just find yourself stuck in a job that you’re not passionate about.
It’s also important to interview from time to time to see what your value is on the market and to practice your skills. Make the most of leveraging your network, advertising yourself and building relationships by reaching out directly to hiring managers and recruiters before submitting applications to have an initial chat or ask questions. Using your initiative and being proactive speaks ten times louder than a covering letter — taking a personal approach will also make you more memorable.
If you find yourself with a little downtime, even if it’s in the break room, talk with the people in your company who work in other departments.
Try to get a feel for what they do well and where they may need a helping hand. If you are able to provide that help, you’ll quickly become a resource for that department and build a name for yourself outside of your own team. The bonus to this strategy is that you’ll also learn new skills while working with other departments, adding even more to your resume.
By taking on the work no one else wants to do, you’re taking one for the team.
What could be a better demonstration of your selfless commitment to the goals of the organization? People will notice and remember that you’re willing to make these sacrifices and go the extra mile. These efforts can go a long way towards building likeability and respect. Also, the more that these unwanted projects help your company and your team in terms of numbers, the more you’ll be able to say you contributed to those results.
Make yourself indispensable. But don’t fall into the trap of “managing up”.
Becoming indispensable needs to be seen from afar; it is a reputation deserved and earned but not discussed. To be considered a valued employee of your company, is to be the one they cannot afford to lose. Yes, it gets back to what you can potentially offer but also on what you have previously achieved.
Secret #2 - Lend a Helping Hand
Helping someone else could be as simple as trouble-shooting with your coworker when she’s at a crossroads on an important project, or offering to make a strategic connection for someone you just met at a networking event. When you go out of your way to be generous, it builds your reputation as a kind and resourceful professional — and that sticks with people.
Always remember the Golden Rule — treat others the way you want to be treated.
To really make a good impression on the people in your sphere of influence, you need to help everyone out, including those below you. Word gets around, so if you actively take a hand in helping others, you’ll help sow the seeds for profitable relationships down the line. Mentoring is a particularly good way to help others, because it can have a big impact on a person’s career and leave a lasting impression.
Looking good isn’t a zero-sum game — there can be lots of winners at once.
Often, when you’ve achieved something worth celebrating or promoting, you’ve had some help along the way. Tell your success stories in a way that highlights the contributions and wins of your collaborators as well as your own. This positions you not as a self-promoter, but as a promoter of others — a highly valued leadership skill. As you boost others, you win your own recognition points along the way.
If you do see someone who appears to be struggling, you should offer them some help.
Everyone has their own work and sometimes you genuinely can’t help someone else, but if you have the time and knowledge, make sure you offer it to others! Step up when people need you and don’t shy away. This gives you a great opportunity to show knowledge, empathy and a willingness to help when there is nothing in it for you! Not only will it build up your reputation, but it will also show management you are happy to help others and that you have the potential to be a well-rounded leader.
When other people talk highly of you, it is a million times more effective than when you brag about yourself.
The key person that you want to support is your boss or manager because they are the biggest stakeholder in your career. If they fail, it’s very hard for you to succeed so make sure that you’re always making their job easier and doing work that they don’t have time for. After you finish your daily tasks, ask them what else you can help them with. If they get promoted, then it’s much easier for them to bring you up with them.
Secret #3 - Make Yourself An Expert
If you have put in the hard yards to improve, then don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with others. Become a resource that others can come to and not only those in your work area but other departments. Often those from outside have fresh and innovative ideas.
If you are constantly trying to learn more and attend different events, you will quickly brand yourself as someone significant in the Industry.
Your company will pick up on this and see you as someone very well informed and passionate about your sector and job role. Becoming an industry expert or a ‘Thought Leader‘ is one of the biggest things you can do for your career. And don’t wait to be invited — contact the organizers and propose a topic or ask about a panel you’d like to sit on.
That said, avoid words like ‘expert’ and ‘guru’ because people might think you’ve stopped learning, and are no longer open to new ideas or new ways thinking.
I’m not interested in hearing from people who think they know everything there is to know about a topic. I want to hear from people who are still learning by gathering knowledge and asking questions. And then sharing what they’ve learned with others. So don’t be afraid to let people know you’re still learning. Share the things you’ve tried that haven’t worked as well as those that have. And never stop, because you will never know everything. And that’s okay, as long as you’re honest about it.
If you are serious about building your career, you’re probably already on LinkedIn and some other social media sites.
Take the time to do more than just create a profile. Post blogs about your profession and share your insights. Welcome connections from others in your field. If you consistently pop up on other people’s screens as a resource of information in your field, you’ll quickly brand yourself as an industry expert. How cool is that?
Beyond the virtual world, you can promote yourself as an expert by writing or speaking about your area of expertise.
There’s no such thing as a nine-to-five workday anymore and what you do outside of work can help build your brand in the workplace. So join industry associations and meet-up groups to network, acquire new knowledge, and build your reputation. When you do a lot outside of work, you have more things to talk about at work. It looks good if you take the extra time to go to conferences and meetings that aren’t required of you.
Secret #4 - Your Track Record Speaks For Yourself
Maybe you led a team that completed a big project on time and 10% under budget. Or you breathed life into a failing client relationship and made a sale. When you complete a project successfully, don’t wait for that annual performance review to be recognized for it! Instead, send your manager a brief email outlining the result — as soon as it happens.
When you succeed, so does your manager, and so does the company.
Sharing your results won’t just make you look good, it will make your boss happy, too. Establish ongoing communication with your manager about your projects and your accomplishments. Regular updates — weekly, biweekly, or monthly — isn’t just good for business, it’s good for self-promotion.
The small talk office chat you find yourself partaking in every day is a great opportunity for you to self-promote!
If your boss asks ‘What’s new?’ this is a perfect opportunity for you to let them know all about the important work related event you went to on Saturday. Casual office talk makes up a large percentage of interaction in the workplace. Take this opportunity to discuss what you are working on and how it will affect the company. Show your enthusiasm and knowledge of what you are doing, it’s amazing how word spreads around! These conversations can build up your positive reputation and will illustrate all of your hard work.
Your manager cannot have eyes everywhere, they may not know that you are interested in a career change of new opportunities.
Employees are held back every year because their direct managers do not know what they have to offer. Being in a position to know about any opportunities that could come your way is an outcome of directly letting your manager and other managers know. The ability to sell yourself rests in large part on your ability to support your assertions by pointing to the successful projects you have helped complete and the tangible benefits you have brought to the company. Identify areas of your job in which you could stand out and excel, and focus on those areas.
Before you can actively promote yourself within your work environment, you need to take note of what it is that you do best.
Do you excel at training new employees? Have you developed new methods or procedures? Are you a deadline beater extraordinaire? Make a list of your strengths and then think about the successful projects that you’ve worked on. How did your skills help create that success? Once you have an understanding of your best skills, you can put yourself forward to helping out with certain jobs you feel that you are good at, especially those outside of your working responsibilities.
Secret #5 - Act As An Entrepreneur At Work
Start looking for opportunities that your company could take advantage of or processes that can be improved in your organization. Do your research and create a presentation to convince your manager that you are the best person to take advantage of that opportunity. If the project works, you will become much more visible in your organization and if it doesn’t, you are still seen as a risk taker and you’ll learn a lot from the experience.
After you’ve proven yourself in your current job, you should strive to expand your role by taking on new projects that can benefit your company.
Look for areas in your company that can be improved and think about opportunities that your company can take advantage of. Do your research and put together a presentation to convince your manager that you can help solve the problem and get them to invest in you. In a study, they found that 58% of managers are either very willing or extremely willing to support entrepreneurial employees.
One thing that sets successful entrepreneurs aside from average executives is their willingness to take risks.
I don’t advise taking uncalculated risks. Wise entrepreneurs know when to give it their best shot because they understand that bigger rewards await those who take wise risks. At work, try to come out of your comfort zone. Take on challenging tasks. Aside from gaining new skills, your boss will also notice your hard work and may offer you a promotion in the future.
Don’t fall into the fear of failure mentality; we all know this is hard to do but we all really need to embrace it.
Susan Jeffers, the author of “Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway” states “the only way of getting rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it”. Therefore always be positive as negative thoughts can be so destructive and pointless. Personally I love the old saying “it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all”.
Besides, passion is essential to achieve great career results no matter what roadblocks you may be facing.
Perform your responsibilities with excellence as your priority. Be passionate about achieving a successful career. Instead of spending most of your time dreaming about the kind of career fulfillment you want for yourself, be proactive and start working towards that dream. When you think like an entrepreneur, it’s like wearing augmented reality glasses. You see the same things as everyone else, but you see them differently. They appear as inactive opportunities, just waiting to be activated.
Opportunities aren’t just going to fall in your lap, you have to chase them. A lot of working professionals “hope” that everything will work out for them in their career, when they should be actively managing their reputation, creating their own opportunities and building a strong network for support.
In the workplace, average doesn’t cut it because there’s always someone else that can replace you, and work for less.
If you want to stand out, get noticed, and get promoted, then you need to start being more aggressive and focused. Whether you like it (or not) self-promotion is a vital part of managing your own career. It’s all too easy to assume that a career change will just come along. But you have to do more than just hope if you want to take it to the next level.
If you don’t speak out, you may never get noticed.
The average boss is often too busy to see what you are doing, instead caught up in their own KPI battles. So you may need to brag a little, otherwise those around you or those in higher positions, just don’t notice. However, the secret we have uncovered here is being able to do it in a way that doesn’t make you look arrogant in front of your colleagues.
Put all these strategies together and you will be amazed how they will help your career progression!
Even if you start with one thing only it will be a solid base for all the others to follow. At the end of the day just the fact you can be an uplifting and positive person who is willing to help, can elevate your reputation and be a great foundational step to move forward from.
Hard work is the foundation of success — but it’s not enough.
If you’re going to get the opportunities you want, you need to make those stellar results visible to others. So don’t just keep your head down, get it out there where others can see it. Think about self-promotion not as a means of touting your goods, but as a means of letting your company know just what you’re capable of and how you can serve the greater good.
Just like what you learned in school that trained you to be good at your job, self-promotion is essential for being successful in your career.
The person who knows how best to promote and market yourself is YOU. Start now to set yourself apart as a leader and generous citizen of your professional communities, and you can take yourself much further than you may have dreamed. And now that you know the best way to promote yourself, I want you to give it a shot. Tell me one thing you’re going to do, and then let me know how it goes.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.