Toot Your Own Horn
Last blog, I mentioned that it can ease the situation if you let your boss know that you’re working hard when you have to miss a deadline. That’s not the only time it’s important to toot your own horn. Nor is the performance review the only opportunity available to pull out and use the contents of your good reviews file. You should make a habit of casually and in non-boastful ways letting your supervisor, his or her boss and others know about all the good things that you’re doing for the company.
I remember my first-ever job out of college. I made friends with the program coordinator, and when she moved out of state and left her job, she let me know and suggested that I apply for it. I was the second-newest person there, but I’d been doing good work and I’ve never been a shrinking violet, so I polished my resume and crafted a list of bulleted points to submit to my boss—essentially a list of reasons why I was perfect for the job. I got the gig, a raise and my own office, and I’d been working at the company for less than six months.
You are firmly in charge of your own career destiny, so if you’re waiting for skyrockets in flight and all that jazz to appear like a trick from David Copperfield, stop it. You may be waiting forever. If no one is noticing your hard work or your accolades have escaped notice of the company newsletter, send your own press release! Okay, not literally, but what harm could it do to let someone know in casual conversation that you will have saved the company several hundred thousand by year’s end due to X, Y and Z? None, but the notes drifting from your cleverly tooted horn may reach the ear of the right person when it comes time for a promotion, a raise or when a spot opens on a team working on a plum assignment.
It’s all about confidence. If you lack confidence, fake it until you make it. You must manage your professional image. Impressing your boss or co-workers is not the point. You want to build relationships across departments and ultimately have everyone share in the ‘buzz’ that surrounds you. Quietly broadcasting your successes on the job is just another way of sharing information.
Think of it this way. Sharing potentially important information, such as your ability to build manage a certain kind of project or team effectively will benefit the company as well as you. Companies want the best and the brightest employees to take the wheel on important and influential assignments. Why? Because having a proven or known track record of success increases the likelihood that you will continue that success when and where it counts.
It may be difficult to talk about yourself at first, so start small and work your way up. “You know, I worked on a similar project last month. I thought it went very well. With the team’s help, we cut three hours from that process…” It will come naturally after awhile, and as you get good at selling yourself, no one will even notice that they’ve been sold to. They may even help you toot your own horn, so be sure and share the successes of your co-workers too. This will mark you as someone who is not only doing good work and going places in the company, but also as someone who has a reputation as a top-notch contributor who actively supports other people.