It's up to each of us to make sure our talents and contributions are recognized. But most of us feel awkward or obnoxious when we try to promote ourselves. This doesn't have to be the case. The following six strategies can help you gain visibility and get the recognition you deserve.  

Tactful self-promotion: Getting the recognition you deserve

It's up to each of us to make sure our talents and contributions are recognized. But most of us feel awkward or obnoxious when we try to promote ourselves. This doesn't have to be the case. The following six strategies can help you gain visibility and get the recognition you deserve. 

  • Craft your value proposition.
    Prepare to tell people how you make a difference. When asked what you do, don't just share your job title. Instead, state the outcomes you produce for the company: "I'm an HR generalist who gives managers the tools they need to get the best out of their staff." Or, "I'm a database manager who makes sure leaders can quickly get the information they need to make good decisions."
  • Share what you're working on.
    When someone asks, "How are you doing?" don't respond with "Fine," or worse, a complaint about being overworked. Instead, share an accomplishment or something you just learned: "I'm great -- I just resolved a bug in the system that should save everyone a lot of headaches." Or, "I just got back from a conference where I learned some ways to help us be more efficient -- it was terrific." No exaggeration is necessary -- simply tell people what you are accomplishing or learning.
  • Make daily interactions count.
    Every encounter with others is a chance to elevate your visibility and enhance your reputation. Pay attention to the impression you create. What messages do your clothes or hairstyle send? Practice voice mails so they are clear and concise. Spell check your e-mails, and include a signature line (possibly reiterating your value proposition). Be ready to speak up in meetings. If you have to be there, use it as a chance to be seen and add value.
  • Cultivate strategic relationships.
    Take time to build relationships with people in your organization, industry and profession. Take a colleague to lunch; send notes of congratulation or appreciation; offer to help a colleague. Cultivate your advocates: figure out who they are and make a systematic effort to stay in touch. Keep them updated, offer assistance and take an interest in their successes.
  • Build your Google Quotient (GQ).
    Build your brand online, not just with those who see you everyday. Start by becoming an active member of LinkedIn. Invite others to link in with you, solicit a few choice testimonials, and participate in a couple of targeted groups by posting a question or responding to an inquiry at least twice a week.
  • Be your own PR agent.
    You can always promote yourself through more traditional means: speak at professional association conferences, be a source for local radio and television, publish articles in newspapers, magazines and Web sites. Start small by contributing to your company or association newsletter.

Promote yourself with integrity. Doing a little bit each day can add up to big results. What are you going to do today? 

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About Richard Dodson 
As a vice president and consultant for Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), the world's premier career services firm, Richard Dodson helps people take charge of their careers, build powerful personal brands and find better ways to promote themselves. In addition to coaching hundreds of people on career plans, Dodson spent five years as a member of LHH's Corporate Design Team where he developed training programs on career agility, new workplace realities, change management, entrepreneurship and career transition. 

The author of Tactful Self-Promotion: Getting the Recognition You Deserve, Dodson is a popular speaker on current work issues, career strategies and building resilience during turbulent times. He earned his degree with highest honors in Humanities from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as an adjunct faculty member at the Carlson School of Management for several years and taught courses on strategic human resource issues. 

You can download his book, Tactful Self-Promotion, for no charge at his Web site. You can also sign up on his Web site to receive a "Tactful Tip of the Week" that will regularly provide you with more ideas for raising your visibility. 

About Lee Hecht Harrison 
Lee Hecht Harrison is a long-term partner of Ceridian. With more than 270 offices worldwide, the company is the global talent development leader in connecting people to jobs and helping individuals improve performance. For more information visit www.LHH.com.