Companies are constantly looking out for fresh, new talent to give them a competitive advantage and angle. If you are proud of what you do and are an expert in your field of work, then why keep it a secret? Start to publicise what you have to offer and soon you will come to the attention of employers and head-hunters. Let's see how good you are at promoting your talents. Click here for further information.
Self-promotion is all about networking and it is crucial to your future success. You need to promote yourself to remind people of your existence and your unique qualities. It is very easy to be forgotten or typecast. If you don't promote yourself, you will start to lose ground and give other people an opportunity to overtake you in the race to be head-hunted for the top jobs within either your current organisation or external organisations. To be successful, it is necessary to master some if not all of the self-promotion techniques. It also means that you remain in charge of your career and avoid letting other people determine a less favourable future for you.
Let's do a quick networking test. Answer each question and give yourself an 'excellent', 'good' or 'needs improving' as your score.
- Do you know and use at least three people more senior than you within your profession to give you advice and professional guidance?
- Do you keep in contact with people on a regular basis, rather than only contacting them when you want something? (Regular being monthly)
- Do you make the effort to meet people in person on their territory, at least once a year rather than just talking to them over the phone, emailing or writing to them?
- Are you interested in and show an understanding of other people, rather than viewing a meeting as an opportunity for you to talk to them about yourself? How do you ensure the balance of the conversation is right?
- Are you interested in the 'whole' person rather than just the business part of them, so that you know what is important to them? What tactics do you use to gain a person's trust?
- Do you formally congratulate people on their achievements and announcements? For example, when you read or hear about a contact's accomplishments and new job, or if they appear in the press, do you write to congratulate them on their appointment?
- Do you view networking as a business opportunity rather than as a chore or a distraction? What business links do you exchange?
- Do you have a good memory for people's names? What about conversations? Do you remember what you talked about last time you met or spoke?
- Do you risk being regarded as a social climber because you only bother with those senior to you?
- Do you risk being seen as 'one of the boys/girls' because you only mix with people on a par with or below you?
Chances are you were fairly lenient with your scores so let me ask you a few further questions.
- How many people have you formally congratulated in the past month? When you read or heard about a colleague's or a contact's accomplishments and new job, did you write to congratulate them?
- How many people do you have on your networking database? Are we talking fewer than 100 people? Under a 1000? Under 10,000? Under 100,000? Over 500, 000?
- How many people have you helped in the past month?Did you set up a meeting, recommend someone or make an introduction on his or her behalf?
- How do you get over your professional and technical expertise when you meet people? Are you aware of your trademark? A trademark is a phrase, sentence or a few words associated with you. You create your own trademark. You do this by communicating, normally subconsciously, your positive or negative message to the outside world. If you have a positive trademark, you have achieved this by relaying positive and beneficial messages. Similarly, if you have a negative trademark, you have gained this by giving out negative messages. Have you become labelled in a certain way? Trademarks can become firmly cast in concrete in people's minds so that it can be difficult for others to see you in any other way. The key, therefore, is to create and promote your own positive label.To become a real expert in your profession, you need to have a trademark which communicates where your professional expertise lies. What are you doing on a day-to-day basis to communicate your professional and technical competence?
- Did you deliver what you promised? It is easy to make a promise but it is much harder to fulfil it. The fastest way to gain respect and trust within your profession is to deliver what you promised. Do you trust yourself enough to make promises?
So, what are you going to promise yourself?
Do you want 'more' from your job/profession? If you do, you need to start to ask yourself some positive questions:
- What do I need to do?
- What part of me do I need to change?
- What could help me do or achieve that?
- What is stopping me?
- What do I need to let go of?
- When am I going to start?
- What am I going to do when I succeed?
- Who can help me achieve this goal, plan or target?
Are you committed to change? But remember, it is commitment with a big 'C' and change with a little 'c'. Commitment is the only way forward because the only other option is to remain an average employee, a mediocre employee or even a dissatisfied employee.
Most people want to become 'more' in terms of an employee or worker but, and it is a big BUT, they are always waiting for someone else to tell them how good, brilliant or capable they are. The reason for this is that the person is afraid to recognise his/her individual value, contribution and power. Is this the case with you too? Becoming 'more' is all about moving forward and changing the pattern of the past. It is about seeing and accepting yourself as you currently are and allowing yourself to become more in terms of a worker. Hence the more you work on yourself, promote yourself and give to your job, the more you will receive from your job in return.
If you are not promoting yourself to the full, you are doing yourself a grave disservice. Sarah Berry is always available if you wish to contact her directly. She offers advice about how to promote your career in her e-book, 'How to be Head-hunted' and advice about how to promote yourself on your CV. Please click here for further information.