Some people seem to be naturally gifted when it comes to making sure that their boss--and everyone else at work--knows the great job that they're doing. In fact, some people are so gifted at the art of self-promotion that they go overboard, coming across as braggarts or just plain jerks.
Other people would rather pretend that they're wallpaper--quietly doing their jobs and hoping someone notices how well they're performing. Unfortunately, they may end up waiting a very long time before they get on their boss's radar screen--or anyone else’s.
According to career expert Rick Gillis, author of the book Promote! It’s Who Knows What You Know That Makes a Career, the best path to standing out on the job is a middle one--not too arrogant and boastful, but definitely not wallpaper.
According to Gillis, these six habits will help you do self-promotion right.
1. Don't assume that your boss knows exactly what you do
Whether you work six feet or 6,000 miles away from your boss, it's unlikely she has more than a general idea about what you do beyond the minimum that is expected. Your boss probably has countless other things on her mind besides you, and it's up to you to remind her that you're there, and that you're doing a great job.
2. Embrace the difference between articulating your value and bragging
As a kid, chances are you were taught that modesty is the best policy. Better to let others discover your greatness--right? Wrong. The problem is, they probably won't--at least not on their own. Explaining (and demonstrating) the value you bring to the organization is a skill to be mastered--and practiced often.
3. Adopt an accomplishment mindset and narrative
In any workplace, you're seen first as a commodity, not a person. Accordingly, you need an inventory of your on-the-job accomplishments--the things that express your commercial value to the business. Be able to roll those things off your tongue anytime, anywhere, to anyone.
4. Quantify your worth
You were hired because someone believed that you'd produce more value for the company than you'd cost. Gillis gives the example of a payroll clerk he once worked with who, in the first run he ever did at the company, cut 6,000 paychecks alone, on time, and with zero returns. That's value!
5. Source and shape your success stories
To begin the process of creating Brand You, look at old résumés, business planners, performance reviews, and journals and create a list of your key accomplishments. Augment this document by reaching out to family, friends, managers, co-workers, customers, and so forth to get their opinions too. Do this important step by phone, not email.
6. Master the three-part accomplishment statement
Turn each of your major accomplishments into a single, three-part statement with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. The idea is to briefly explain what you did, what that resulted in, and the value gained. For example: "Created a digital filing system that resulted in 300 man-hours saved per week, enabling the company to save $6 million annually."
Remember: This is no time to be shy. Be positive, be honest, be accurate, and be you.