In today's fierce business environment, there is a new strategy for advancement — and it isn't working 24/7. Getting ahead requires not...
MIAMI — In today’s fierce business environment, there is a new strategy for advancement — and it isn’t working 24/7.
Getting ahead requires not only having a genuine knack for what you do, but also a talent for self-promotion.
In other words, bragging is a necessity.
“The only sure thing is that no one is going to look after your best interests except you,” said Peggy Klaus, author of “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.”
“You must let people know who you are and what you are accomplishing.”
Klaus is leading the way in an upstart industry of “bragologists,” or coaches who advise everyone from CEOs to secretaries, to business owners and ad salespeople on how to benefit from self-promotion.
The reality is those of us who learn how to promote and market ourselves are more likely to get noticed when it is time for pay raises, promotions, prime assignments and business referrals.
How to brag well
Sell yourself: Take opportunities at work to make co-workers or supervisors aware of exciting projects you are working on.
Bag yourself: Come up with a brag bag — a list of your accomplishments, passions, interests and colorful details — that describe who you are personally and professionally. Update it regularly.
Humble yourself: Avoid taking undue credit or coming across as disingenuous.
Sources: Peggy Klaus, author and consultant; Cynthia Wesley, CEO of Black Recruiters Network Association
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Within a company, let your boss know what you do and how you do it, particularly when you accomplish something outside the routine.
Send an e-mail touting the “great news” that a potential customer returned your phone call after a week of attempts or that you averted a crisis by double-checking an order.
Marilu Del Toro, 28, forwarded her boss an e-mail from a client, expressing his satisfaction with a publicity interview she had arranged.
She attached a note that read, “Good news, so and so was happy about this interview.”
Del Toro wants to make an impression at the Miami public-relations firm where she has worked only six months as an account executive.
“I see self-promotion as a necessary thing. I still am in the beginning phases of establishing myself.”
Clearly, technology makes it easier to raise our profiles through e-mail or voicemail when we have little face-to-face contact with our higher-ups or business contacts.
Good techno-bragging has a few qualities in common, experts say: a warm tone and a conversational, interesting and enthusiastic message.
Veterans of self-promotion know better than to come across as being self-focused.
John Sapp, author of “Making Partner: A Guide for Law Firm Associates,” said self-marketing has become critical for law associates who want to advance. However, he said partners are quick to recognize when an associate hoards credit.
“Modern law firms and businesses are big on teamwork,” Sapp said. “Make sure whoever the team leader is, you have made them aware of your ability to be an effective team member.”
Big missed opportunities to toot your horn, Klaus said, are performance reviews. Too often, employees come unprepared and without a list of obstacles they have overcome or contributions they have made.
“Before you go in, put your brag bag in order,” she said.
Skillful self-promoters know that you don’t have to spend late nights networking to toot your own horn. Be prepared to brag with anyone, anywhere, anytime — to answer the question, “What do you do?”
Heide Sacher, assistant vice president of women’s marketing at AXA Financial, talks about herself in a conversational way that includes juicy nuggets about her personal and work life.
“Having grown up with six sisters, I feel I know something about women’s marketing,” Sacher said. “Ironically, now I have three sons, but it rounds out my life being involved in women’s marketing.”
Cynthia Wesley, chief executive of the Black Recruiters Network Association, based in Silicon Valley, Calif., went from being a reluctant self-promoter to an artful one.
“Some people think if you put in a lot of hours someone will pay attention and give you what’s due,” she said.
“But it always has been about networking and how you tell people about what you do that adds value. Working smart and self-promotion have always been the game.”