How to Master Self-Promotion at Work (Without Rubbing People the Wrong Way)

by | Nov 13, 2019 | career & business, corporate | 0 comments

Ever wonder why you’re not being promoted or getting a raise even though you’re killing it at your job? It could be that you haven’t mastered the art of self-promotion.

I hate to break it to ya, but promoting yourself at work is critical to excelling in your career. If there’s anything I’ve learned since working at Salesforce, it’s that self-promotion is the key piece of career growth and recognition. In today’s corporate world, going to work, doing your job and hoping you get the recognition you deserve isn’t going to cut it. If you want to advance in your career, get promoted and nab raises, you need to speak up and share your wins

As I mentioned in this post, I recently took part in the #IAmRemarkable workshop. If you’re not familiar with the workshop, it’s a Google-powered initiative that empowers women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. You can read more about the ‘why’ behind this initiative here

It was an eye-opening experience to go through the workshop and hear the research behind why women especially avoid talking themselves up, especially on the job. I’m here to tell you that if you aren’t sharing your accomplishments and self-promoting in some way, you are decreasing the chances of getting promoted and getting a raise and even worse, potentially decreasing your chances of hanging on to your job. 

I’m here to share with you how you can effectively self-promote in the workplace without rubbing people the wrong way. You ready?

How to Self-Promote at Work (Without Rubbing People the Wrong Way) Pinterest Pin

Shift Your Thinking About Self-Promotion

Okay, first things first – if the very thought of self-promotion makes you cringe, you need to change your perception. A lot of people think self-promotion is bragging about yourself, but its not (if you’re doing it in the right way and have the right intentions). Self-promotion isn’t actually about you – it’s about the impact of your work. And do you really want to hide all the great work you’re doing? I doubt it. 

If you’re not communicating when you get positive feedback from a client or when you crushed a meeting you had, no one will know. And you can’t expect the people who were there to witness your win to share either, because they may not. If you think it’s your manager’s job to take note of everyone on the team kicking ass, think again. They likely have a lot on his or her plate too, so they may not have any visibility into the work that you’re doing. So from that perspective, you’re simply just keeping your manager up to date on what you’re working on. 

Here’s another way of looking at it: when you succeed, so does your manager, and his or her manager, and so on. Sharing your results won’t just make you look good, it will make your boss look pretty good too. See what I mean? 

Embrace the Uncomfortable & Own Your Confidence

It can be so unbelievably uncomfortable to share your achievements at work. I felt the same way when I started doing it at work. One thing that got me through it was shifting my thinking and reminding myself of the fact that I work at a global company and there’s thousands upon thousands of employees. It’s easy to get caught up in being a very small fish in a very big pond. I realized that I had to make an effort to stand out. Otherwise, I was just another number. As you self-promote more and more, I promise you it gets easier.

I also totally get that you don’t want to be that person that is all “ME, ME, ME!” But there’s a difference in being confident and being downright annoying. Be mindful of your wording when writing out your accomplishments and be mindful of how you share in a more personal setting (via in-person or over the phone). 

Stand tall and show that you have faith in yourself, your abilities and your work. Because let’s be real, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, why should anyone else?

Look for everyday opportunities to help your co-workers and manager better understand your contributions. Discuss what you’re working on and how things are going. When you reach a major milestone on a project, don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm. 

Kelly provides tips on how best to self-promote at work

Track Your Progress & Share Those Achievements 

The best thing I heard from the #IAmRemarkable workshop: “it’s not bragging when you are delivering facts.” BOOM

When you’re receiving positive feedback from people like clients or co-workers, you need to be documenting it! They are facts! As I mentioned in my post about how to land a promotion, I share how this is a critical step in receiving a promotion – managers want to see what your clients or your peers are saying about you. You can get a free copy of the document that I use to track my achievements here!

To avoid rubbing people the wrong way, instead of focusing solely on yourself, promote your value and quantify the results! An example of this would be, “My client achieved a 5x ROI because they implemented the recommended strategy that the team and I presented a few months back.” 

Mic drop.

Promote Others & Give Credit Where It’s Due

Unless you truly worked on something all by yourself, it’s likely you had input from others that contributed to your success. Sharing the spotlight with those who contributed not only humanizes you but inspires those people to also sing your praises. By acknowledging those other people, you’re creating a network of genuine support.

I think it’s cool too to promote others for the great work they themselves are doing – especially if they are unlikely to promote themselves. Sharing others’ success is a positive and kind action and whether you get anything back or not, the other person will feel valued. Share the wealth! 

Kelly provides tips on how best to self-promote at work

Be Authentic & Come from a Place of Service

To avoid putting a bad taste in people’s mouths, it’s important to come from a place of genuineness and authenticity when self-promoting.  A tasteful and effective way to self-promote is to help others with the knowledge you’ve learned. 

You can use your expertise to support your co-workers in being a resource and answering questions, sharing tips or training them on how you do what you do. These actions undoubtedly raise your visibility and will establish you as a leader. Managers recognize and appreciate when their direct reports go above and beyond to do things like that. And it’s bound to be one of the things they look for when deciding who to promote. 

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start self-promoting? Share your thoughts or worries on this topic below!

Pink lipstick stain

Welcome to Lipstick & Ink®, your home for everything career and life inspired. I’m Kelly, a Chicago-based career coach, branding consultant, and speaker.

Whether we’re working together on achieving your career aspirations, refreshing your professional documents, or crafting your brand, think of me as your career sidekick who is going to push you to your potential and cheer you on every step of the way.




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