When it comes to really promoting themselves, highlighting their achievements or simply tooting their horns, I hear " I am not comfortable bragging about myself"
-- Are you guilty of working really hard, plugging away in your office and just making the assumption that your boss, colleagues and senior management will take notice at the right time?
-- Have you been overlooked for promotions that you deserve because you walk into performance reviews without a solid record of your recent achievements and contributions?
Unfortunately, this is a challenge that a lot of professional women face - traditionally, we are raised to be modest and we hold on to the notion that as long as we continue to work hard and do our best, we will get rewarded in the end.
If you have identified your executive brand, that is great, but if you are not consistently communicating your message (validated with career achievements and individual contributions), you will continue to be overlooked in today's competitive and evolving workplace.
I realize that you cannot change your personality and working style overnight, but here are six strategies that you can execute over the next year to get you moving in the right direction.
1) Learn the language of self-promotion
While I certainly don't recommend that you start telling everyone that the firm cannot survive without you, there are subtle phrases and key words that can add power to your statements. The key is to interject them carefully into your conversations and discussions in a manner that is comfortable for you. For example:
Bragging: "This deal couldn't have happened with me"
Self-Promoting: "While leading a cross-functional team of 40 professionals, I was able to turnaround a rapidly declining project by implementing a first-of-its-kind marketing initiative."
2) Meet with your boss more frequently
Make an appointment with your immediate boss every three to six months to review accomplishments, discuss upcoming projects and ensure that your individual progress is in line with departmental and corporate objectives.
How many of you have walked into performance reviews and been blown away by the feedback?
3) Chronicle your career accomplishments
Don't wait until the end of the year to remember everything you have done or expect your boss to remember. Create a personal "kudos" file that contains your contributions to recent projects, standout accomplishments, recent education or training, speaking engagements, special assignments and more.
I cannot tell you the amount of professional women I have worked with that have forgotten or lost track of their career achievements over the years - yes, you can really forget them!
4) Pursue continuous learning
Technology moves at the speed of light these days and constantly changes how we work - make sure that you are abreast of technology and industry trends.
-- Are there new certifications, advanced courses or a new degree that you should be pursuing?
-- Are there gaps in your experience or areas of expertise that can be solved with a new class or training program?
Your recent training and new knowledge base can validate your case for a promotion.
5) Share your accomplishments in meetings
Don't be afraid to support your suggestions or recommendations for a new solution in your department by making reference to a recent success that you have had - try something like this, "I am confident that my idea would work because I applied the same concept recently when I spearheaded a $5-million marketing project..."
6) Maintain a strong internal and external brand reputation
There is no excuse if you are still behind the ball when it comes to online identity and career brand management - you should have the basics including a LinkedIn profile, VisualCV, Google bio profile and Zoominfo.
It is critical that not only your immediate boss is aware of your value proposition, but also the company's vendors and clients. You can be specially selected to work on a high profile project, if your brand reputation and stream of achievements are well known.