Why and how to self-promote

Posted by on

Self promotion doesn’t tend to come naturally to us Brits. How comfortable do you feel when it comes to talking about what a great employee you are, and all the brilliant things you’ve achieved? Could you seem a bit full of yourself? Is it boasting? Is it just a bit ‘icky’?

Like it or loathe it, drawing attention to your accomplishments is now a key skill to master in the modern workplace.

This is particularly if you worked remotely during the pandemic and might have felt ‘out of sight, out of mind’. That’s because in a physical workplace, colleagues and managers are usually around and more likely to notice your moments of success.

It’s also a good mental health practice for you to keep track of your successes, even if you’re not yet comfortable self promoting. This is particularly if you suffer from self-doubt or imposter syndrome. Being able to look back on your accomplishments will boost your self assurance and make you happier in your work. Eventually, the accumulation of evidence showing your value in the workplace may enable you to self promote too.

Research shows that women in particular struggle with self-promotion. One 2019 study called ‘The Gender Gap in Self-Promotion’ asked men and women to take maths and science tests then rate themselves on how they thought they’d done. It turns out that men and women broadly achieved the same scores, but the male participants gave themselves higher ratings than the female participants. The figure was 33% higher, in fact.

Perhaps you’re now back in a physical office or are still putting in the hours virtually from home. You might be looking to change jobs or chasing a much-longed-for promotion.

Whatever your situation, we’re here to tell you that it’s OK to self-promote. In fact, we think that learning to celebrate your excellence should be on your urgent to-do list. Here are a few ways to do this.

Email yourself praise

As a first step, start making a note when something happens at work that you feel proud of and which shows you in a good light. The quickest way is to send yourself an email or write a note while it’s fresh in your mind. You can set up a folder to forward email messages into.

Save messages of thanks from someone on a different team, comments from a happy client after you come up with a solution to a problem or screenshots of some project data that’s made you smile. The things you take note of needn’t be big career-defining wins. Anything that builds up a picture of yourself as a valuable member of the team is potential gold.

Sending yourself regular emails or writing regular notes, trains you to think positively about what you bring to your team. And as we know at HR GO, it also makes it easier to refer to when you have a performance review, a promotion in the pipeline or are going for a new job.

Keep your boss in the loop

When it comes to reminding your boss of your value to the team and organisation, it’s about little and often. So each week, try to update your manager on what you’ve achieved. It is possible to do this without coming across as bragging. Here are some tips:

  • Frame your narrative as finding solutions to a challenge you faced
  • In recounting your success, don’t diminish the contributions of others
  • Brag about others where appropriate – did someone else on the team help you to succeed?
  • Consider asking a team buddy to articulate your latest achievement – and make sure to reciprocate
  • Don’t use too many ‘I’ pronouns – especially when talking about team work

Aim to highlight the value you’re bringing to the team and therefore to the company too. You can use the positive things you’ve emailed yourself as a springboard for your message. If you struggle with being this direct, try to reframe it in your head as merely keeping your boss in the loop and making it easier for them to know what’s going on.

Harness the most powerful online self promotion tool: LinkedIn

Why not let your online presence do the job of amplifying your accomplishments? Start by including your LinkedIn profile as part of your email signature. Then share the projects you’re proud of and professional learnings that you know will bring value to others.

Making your company an integral part of everything you post means you’ll get noticed by others in your organisation. And having all your achievements waiting online ready for someone to read is another winner.

Be your own cheerleader

Don’t think that your great work will speak for itself, or that you can work away in the background to glowing recognition. Your employer is not psychic and cannot see all of the good works that every employee does.

In the modern workplace, you’re more likely to become known as a success if you can learn how to feel comfortable speaking up. And the best bit? Celebrating your excellence helps to remind you of your value - something all of us could do with remembering at times. Tackling a difficult project? Check back on your past achievements and it will give you confidence you can succeed now too.

Recent blogs