For a while now, most of us have been in survival mode, weathering economic uncertainty and organizational upheaval. Now the time has come to regroup, re-conceptualize the future and our careers. As organizations become flatter and the number of promotion opportunities diminish, how do we define professional growth and advancement? Rather than waiting for such opportunities you can actively shape your career and influence in a manner that supports your career objectives.
I believe you can (and should) promote yourself in a way that is authentic. Most of us know talented people who don't get the recognition they deserve and sometimes the most visible, but not necessarily the most valuable employees make the cut. But candidly, people are busy, "face time" is limited, and organizations are becoming more dispersed. How then can you differentiate yourself from others?
Success requires relationships at a variety of levels. Many people need to know who you are and what you have to offer. Self-promotion can be a key influence strategy to increase your visibility and support from others. I know what you are thinking, but effective self-promotion does not have to be painful or exaggerated. Consider the following points:
- Self-promotion is not inflated. Ignore those who boast and play up to others. People who promote themselves well understand there are many ways to communicate their achievements such as speaking up in meetings, sharing successes and volunteering for visible roles.
- Self-promotion isn't pretending to be someone you're not. Your efforts will be better received if you are genuine. Authenticity is an important skill for creating a collaborative workplace.
- Become self-aware. Gain a strong understanding of your strengths and your development needs. If you try to self-promote and are not self-aware, you can come across as either pathetic or arrogant.
- Don't expect others to notice your work without some effort. Doing a job and doing it well doesn't ensure that others will appreciate it. You need to connect the dots between what you do and why it matters. The decision-makers in the organization won't always make those connections by themselves.
- Don't inflate yourself at others' expense. What might seem like a good idea at the time will damage your reputation and your working relationships with others.
- Look for opportunities to talk about your group's accomplishments. Participate in meetings and share your group's achievements and challenges. Ask others for their insights and contributions.
Self promotion can be an important strategy for managing your career. When approached authentically, these tactics can increase your visibility and accelerate your professional growth and advancement.
About the Author
Cathie L. Murensky Ph.D.
Cathie is Principal of InnoVision, International. She is an Industrial/Organizational psychologist with expertise in leadership and organization development, learning and talent management as both an external consultant and an internal practitioner. Her consulting expertise is an integration of her experience in private and public sectors working with diverse individuals, teams and organizations.
Cathie has previously held Director roles in Learning and Leadership Development. In that capacity she has built and managed Organization and Leadership Development functions as well as broader Learning and Development teams that included Training. Prior to that, Cathie worked at a global energy company where she was the lead consultant for the human capital function. In this role she partnered with senior stakeholders to assess their needs and then design and implement tailored development solutions Cathie has also spent several years as Human Capital consultant with the HayGroup. Her consulting experience spans engagements that include the development of competency models, full life-cycle leadership development programs that include immersion/on-boarding, high-potential development and succession planning as well as Organization Development and Change Management processes.
She has contributed her leadership and expertise for various companies including Mobil Oil, Acterna, Rolls-Royce N.A., CASE Latin America, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), U.S. Air Force (USAF), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Seagram, Volvo, as well as profit and non-profit Boards.
Cathie holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, an M.A. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from East Carolina University and a B.A. in Psychology from East Carolina University.
Cathie L. Murensky Ph.D., website: www.innovisionintl.com