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Personal Marketing Quandry: Toot Your Own Horn at Work?

Categories: Personal Marketing

girlhornThere’s a huge difference between being humble, and being passive, mousy or timid.

It’s OK to let the world — and more importantly, your superiors — know what a great job you’re doing. You also can do so without being full of yourself, a braggart, or an arrogant, obnoxious fool.

There are times when it’s not just OK to toot your own horn at work, but it’s actually smart, strategic and necessary.

Strange as it may sound, the ability to market or sell yourself and your accomplishments -- aka tooting your own horn — is actually an important leadership quality.

I’m not suggesting that you wander around the office telling everyone how wonderful you are, beating your chest and yelling, “Look at me!” That’s not professional self-promotion, that’s trying to impress people -- probably to cover your own insecurities. It’s attention-seeking behavior; it doesn’t work, and you will sound full of yourself.

However, it’s equally as bad to hide your light under the proverbial bushel, not let anyone know about your accomplishments, deflect and deny praise, and always give the credit you deserve to others. After all, if higher-ups don’t know what you’re doing or how well you’re doing, they will not consider promoting you, asking you to take on more responsibility, or invite you to that great all-expenses-paid industry conference on Maui. (Don’t we all wish!).

How do you toot your own horn in a way that is appropriate and professional? Here are four guidelines:

  1. Keep notes about your accomplishments and contributions. Have them handy when it’s time for a review, or if you’re up for a promotion. That’s the perfect time to be tooting that career horn, and having it in black-and-white will give you confidence.
  2. Make sure your boss and advocates know your accomplishments, in and out of the office. These are the people who can help you advance in your career, so keep them informed of anything that adds to your value. Think "matter-of-fact-sharing" in your approach, but it’s OK to convey excitement and enthusiasm.
  3. Volunteer to work on projects that interest you or deliver reports to higher ups at company meetings. Asking for opportunities shows confidence and willingness to take on responsibility. By showing these traits, you are actually tooting your own horn in an indirect but powerful and noticeable way.
  4. If one of your company execs wants to know who is responsible for something terrific that you brought about, feel free to “own” the credit. Just remember to offer thanks and proper acknowledgment of anyone else who had a hand in it.

And if you’d like to learn more about how to apply effective self-marketing to be successful, please take a look at our Success Store.

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