Many workers think that their hard work will speak for itself. They quietly do their job and stay late at the office hoping that their boss will notice their efforts. However, when a job promotion or pay raise goes to someone else, many employees retreat into a corner, wondering what happened.
Many don't realize that talking about your accomplishments in a confident way is the best way to get ahead in your career. Promoting yourself at work doesn't need to be shameless and you don't have to brag.
Instead, you need to develop a savvy approach to self-promotion so you can get ahead in your career. Being able to effectively toot your horn without blowing the wrong tune can only happen if you avoid these four common mistakes.
- Don't piggy-back off a tragic event to launch your self-promotion campaign
The recent hurricane that hit the American states of Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama left millions homeless and cities in ruin. Hurricane Katrina is turning out to be one of the most expensive natural disasters ever in the continental United States. The tsunami that decimated 11 countries in South Asia in December 2004 is yet another extremely devastating natural event. Many people were displaced and to date, over $2-billion has been donated world wide to help the victims of the tsunami.
However, it’s getting to a point where the publicity surrounding who's giving gets more attention than the people who lost their homes, belongings and family members. Celebrities, companies and even countries are taking this opportunity to boast about the amount of money they have donated. Some companies are even buying full page ads in newspapers just to show what they're doing to help.
While Hollywood and Fortune 500 choose this time to brag about their contributions, this approach lacks dignity, tact and modesty. Don't make this mistake with your career. If your company just lost a major customer and is now facing a lawsuit for breach of contract, it's not the time to brag about a new process you developed while working with that customer. That shows poor timing on your part and you will look bad in front of your boss and colleagues.
- Don't brag by putting down the competition
On Season 2 of the hit show The Apprentice, one contestant, Ivana, was the project manager of a losing team. As she was making her case in front of Donald Trump as to why she should not be fired, instead of focusing on her strengths, she started to bad mouth another contestant. What made Ivana's comments so bizarre is that she focused on someone who wasn't even on the same team as she was. Incidentally, Donald Trump didn't look too highly on Ivana's comments and he fired her with little hesitation.
Saying negative things about a co-worker may make you feel good, but this approach does little to raise your profile at work. When you do this, you appear to be uncomfortable with your own accomplishments. Instead, develop a 30-second commercial about what you do well. That way, you focus on your triumphs and resist the temptation of making your co-worker look bad.
- Never include cheating in your self-promotion campaign
Remember Enron, WorldCom and the adventures of media tycoon, Conrad Black? The executives of these companies cheated in order to gain success. Despite the fact that he was being investigated for diverting company money to his own pocket, Black was outraged and claimed that people should be thanking him for creating so many jobs, not spending their energy accusing him of stealing.
The things you do at work may not include being investigated by the Securities & Exchange Commission, but there are some activities you may be doing right now that undermines your company's bottom line.
Whether you take office supplies home from your company's stock room, take a two-hour lunch or overcharge your company for gas on your expense report, these actions are all dishonest. You'll make enemies at work very fast if you gloat about your dishonest deeds in the lunch room. Plus, this is a sure fire way to bring your career to a grinding halt as no one wants to work with a cheater.
- Don't over-brag
There's a business woman I met recently. I had read her book and I attended a few of her teleclasses. When I heard she'd be in my city on business, I sent her an email requesting we meet for coffee.
We met and I immediately regretted it. You see, this business woman spoke endlessly about herself for the entire 30-minutes. Here I was, one of her biggest fans and most loyal customers, and my idol boasted about her product line and how much money she was making. This business women didn't take any time to find out who I am nor to learn why I'm her biggest fan. I walked away from that meeting and never bought anything from her website again.
It's important to let others know about your achievements, but don't do this at the expense of bad manners. Find the balance. Know when it's appropriate to talk about your accomplishments and when you should hold your tongue. A good self-promoter knows the value of listening to others. This skill can work wonders for your career.
The way for you to advance in your career rests in your ability to self-promote. If you won't talk about your achievements, don't expect anyone else to do so, but remember that your goal is to be savvy in your approach and leave the brainless techniques to someone else.
Leesa Barnes, The Schmooze Coach, helps consultants, virtual assistants, professional organizers, coaches and solopreneurs avoid cold calling by developing a fearless networking plan. Leesa is author of “Schmooze Your Way to Success: 9 Fearless Networking Tips for the Shy, Timid, Introverted & Just Plain Clueless. " Go to http://www.schmoozeyourwaytosuccess.com/ecourse.html and sign up for her free 8-lesson ecourse called “From Clueless to Fearless: Secrets from the Schmooze Coach. "