Photo Credit: www.THREE20Media.com
Taking a snapshot of the work you’re doing is essential to being noticed at work and ultimately moving up—a kind of career self-promotion. The best professional advice I ever received sounded something like this: “No one else is going to look over your career like you can. Don’t be too modest to talk about what you’re doing around here.” What I heard was: Go on. Take a career selfie. Shamelessly self-promote. So I did.
Great performance is only one part of work advancement. Bringing exposure to those accomplishments is the other. Let’s take the selfies on your smartphone. They may look amazing, but if you never post to Instagram how will you get any likes or comments?
Promoting yourself is a balance of getting others to rally behind your achievements without turning people off. Here are seven ways to walk that line with humility and get the recognition you deserve:
1. Be good at what you do. Just as nobody shares an ugly selfie, you don't want to bring more visibility to yourself if you’re uncertain about the quality of your work. Make sure you're performing at your best. Consider this: the average person takes several selfies before they finally post that standout pose. In the same way, you’ll want to showcase the work you’re doing exceptionally well even if that means leaving out the average results and selecting specific activities to highlight, or waiting until an impressive project is about to come to a close.
2. Do something extra. In what ways can you add to your day-to-day role? Think of this as a special effect, like an Instagram filter. Taking on a side project at work is a great way to get more visibility. Associates that assume more responsibility are known for their high engagement and commitment. In many corporate cultures, volunteering to help with special projects, be they outreach or internal, is an important part of how employees are recognized and rewarded.
3. Share and like someone else’s career selfie. Pay it forward by publicly acknowledging a coworker for a job well done. Send his or her manager an email. Mention it in meetings. Tell as many people as you can about how they did a great job, and how it benefited you, the company, and your clients. While you shouldn’t expect anything, others will likely return the favor and compliment your work, too.
4. Offer to help. Ever seen someone trying to take a selfie? They're fumbling around for a good angle hoping to capture a landscape behind them. Rather than walk by, you stop and offer to take the shot. Now they've got a better picture, thanks to you. Works the same way on the job. There are many ways of helping a colleague, like coaching, training, or assisting with a project. Being helpful shows your team building skills and that too brings recognition.
5. Post, post, post. Speak up. It’s easy to assume that everyone knows what you’re working on, but in the busyness of each day many people don’t get a chance to look above their desk to keep up with others. Your own team may not be aware of your project scope, responsibilities, or your special areas of expertise. Listen for opportunities that are the perfect segue and share your story, even in casual conversation. Don’t wait for your manager to do it. He or she is also busy.
6. Tag an influencer. This can be your manager, a mentor, or another senior leader you respect. Explain that you’re looking to get more exposure and could use some support. The right ally will help you get attention from the leadership at your organization.
7. Take an usie. We all loved Ellen’s group photo at the Oscars. Find colleagues with similar aspirations and work together. Your collective efforts can benefit all of you. Shine a light on each other by showing how you've collaborated.
It may feel uncomfortable at first, but self-promotion is an important part of career growth. When it comes to taking your career selfie there’s one rule to remember: be your best and enjoy the shine.
Connect with Natasha Miller Williams on Twitter @nlynniewillie and follow on LinkedIn!