Whether you are looking for a new job or you are working towards a promotion, it’s important to know how to promote yourself. After all, you have to be able to show why you deserve the position over all the other candidates. Promoting or selling yourself is also important if you want to expand your professional network. However, many hesitate to promote themselves because they confuse it with bragging. If you fall into this category, you need to know that understanding what you do well and expressing it clearly at the right time is different than aimless bragging. It’s a critical part of achieving your career goals, as part of your strategic career plan. Here are three ways to promote yourself, correctly and effectively.
Articulate your strengths. It is important to know why you are good at your job. Every professional should be able to quickly list three to five strengths that they use and excel in using at their job regularly. If you are unable to do so, it will be difficult for you to promote yourself. This is especially important in an interview since you have to explain why you deserve the job or the promotion. To prepare for this, take some time to list your strengths. Of these strengths, pick three to talk about, making sure that they are strengths that would be needed for the new position that you want. Limit your explanation of each strength to a sentence or two, keeping it brief and to the point. Don’t take a long time explaining the details of the situation you’re describing, get right to talking about your strengths. Only elaborate on your explanation if asked to do so. If you are at a networking event, prepare a brief elevator pitch to show why you are someone worth knowing.
Tell stories. When used at the appropriate times, stories and examples are great ways to promote yourself. Pay careful attention to your tone and language and keep it brief. At a networking event, a well-told story can be a great way to impress a new potential client or connection. To do this, it will require some preparation and practice. Keep an ongoing list of situations at work where you are able to show them how to leverage your strengths with measurable results. It’s also necessary to explain why this makes you a valuable connection or business partner, don’t assume they will be able to put it together. Finally, rehearse. Keep the story short and sweet, this way it will be more memorable. If your story drags on, you and the person you are speaking with will forget the point of the story. Be like a politician—have your message prepared. Keep it short and sweet and to the point.
Actively participate on LinkedIn. This is an important part of promoting yourself, because this is where people will go to learn more about you. If you haven’t updated your profile since LinkedIn was first created, then your business contacts may be leery of your professionalism. Keep your account updated and accept invitations to connect. Try joining a group, writing articles, or creating a blog. Make sure that the information you are going to share is timely and helpful, and don’t be surprised when other people start promoting you.