How to Promote Yourself


We’ve all worked hard on projects before and not been recognized one time, or maybe two, for our achievements. I read a section in Alexandra Levit’s books, They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, about self-promotion and I thought back to all these moments where I felt I achieved something great but didn’t tell anyone about it. There were even times during projects I let my boss or teacher give my teammates more credit than me. That’s not to say my teammates didn’t deserve recognition, but I should have promoted my own contribution too. In this fast-paced world if you don’t speak up, you get shut out. “Your promotability depends not on what you do, but on who knows what you do,” Alex wrote.

CircleoflifeAlex made some good points about self-promotion and how you do it tactfully. “The key is enthusiasm,” she wrote. As I continued reading each line, something I haven’t done with a text book in a long time, I couldn’t help but laugh at how simple this was. For example, instead of continuously using “I” to promote yourself, you should use “we” to promote what you did for the company. I think about it as a big circle of life. If you do something good for someone, then you look good. If you look good, then your company looks good. And again, if your company looks good, hey, you look good too.

But I also felt like she missed another important point in self-promotion: how to take a compliment. I’m so bad at taking compliments. The other day the marketing director, who I work under, gave me a sincere compliment. He said I’m a fast learner and he’s glad I’m here to help. I said thank you, but I also deflected the compliment and attributed my skills to “it’s my job.” I think we’re taught to be so modest that it’s hard to accept a compliment. So, my advice to add to self-promotion is to take a compliment and don’t attribute it to something else. You earned it, so own it!

Felicia Kloewer 

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3 Responses to How to Promote Yourself

  1. kaitlynchock says:

    I really enjoyed this. I don’t think self-promotion is something we talk about much but it’s a valuable skill. You have to be able to advocate for yourself especially when you’re looking for job or a promotion. But as you said, if you’re not going to speak up, no one will know what you did. And if your supervisor does not realize how much you’re actually doing, she might worry you’re not contributing.

    I also liked your point about taking compliments. It’s a little uncomfortable when you give someone a compliment and they deflect. Then again, taking compliments can be uncomfortable as well. But as you said, “You earned it, so own it!” Well phrased. I really appreciated your take on all of this! Great post.

  2. Felicia, I think you made a really great point with your last comment. I think it is wise to promote yourself through we instead of I because it also shows that you are willing to be a team player and attribute your accomplishments to more than just yourself. But I see myself having hard time taking a complement as well. I think that has a lot to do with our generation always striving to do better and we grew up with a lot of things that generations above us didn’t so we put more pressure on ourselves to do more than what comes naturally. Personally, I think I have a hard time taking a complement because I don’t want to ever get over confident and I want to continually improve my skills. I think you did a great job recognizing something that I’m sure a lot of us don’t even realize we do.

  3. Such a smart point about accepting compliments. In the workplace, I feel that those who deflect their compliments and play down their achievements get looked over and passed by for promotions and other opportunities simply because they don’t radiate confidence about their own skills and abilities.

    While the author made a good point, that there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness, I think never “bragging” about our achievements lends to people not fully understanding or appreciating our skills. For me, the work will be in finding a balance between modesty and cockiness that allows my coworkers to feel that I’m naturally confident in my work and my abilities, but not that I’m pushy, in your face or braggy about them!

    Thanks for a smart thought provoking post Felicia!

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