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.
Alex 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!