Learn the fine art of tooting your own horn without blowing it, and enjoy greater job security and enhanced career success.
Last week, we talked about ways you can make yourself indispensable at work. Saving the company money, making the boss’s life easier, and excelling at an essential skill are all fabulous techniques for ensuring job security, as well as job enjoyment.
However, we also mentioned another key step: You need to let people (meaning, your bosses) know about your accomplishments. Otherwise, they may have no idea of how wonderful you are.
Which brings us to today’s burning question: How do you toot your own horn at work without coming off as the office jerk?
Most of us have been taught that it’s impolite to boast about ourselves, and this is a good thing because no one likes a braggart. In fact, personal humility is an admirable trait and a sign of integrity. So don’t feel bad if your first impulse is to keep your head down, do a great job and wait for people to notice.
However, do keep in mind that a success no one knows about is nearly the same thing as no success at all. Fortunately, there are subtle, tasteful ways to keep the powers-that-be apprised of your good work and all-around amazingness. Here are three:
When bosses ask how things are going, start with the positive. Your first thought may be to launch into a description of the problems and issues you are facing, and of course you do also need to discuss these things, but lead with the areas that are going well for you, weaving in a mention of the reasons why (i.e., your ideas, your hard work, etc.).
When something great has happened, share it immediately. It’s a perfectly human thing to visit or email or text your boss and say, “I’m so excited, this just happened,” and then go on to describe your achievement. Be sure to give credit to other team members, as well.
In fact, be generous with your praise of others whether or not you directly work with them. Good feelings being contagious, you may well discover they will start to say nice things about you, too. This is a great horn-tooting technique for those of us too shy to sell ourselves. Sell someone else instead! Your positivity will come back to you, many-fold.
Bonus hint: Apply for industry competitions and awards. If you win, your success will not only make you look good, but your company and boss, too.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.