It is important to understand the difference between bragging and self-promotion. Nobody likes people who brag about themselves. It is considered outright obnoxious and condemnable behavior. However, the ability to self-promote and market yourself is commendable and is a sign of social aptitude. You might believe that your work should speak for itself, but if you consider the fierce competition and want to keep your job intact in a bad economy, you need to learn how to promote yourself. Self-promotion and networking are of special importance to freelancers whose bread and butter rely on building meaningful long-term business relationships.
Self-promotion feels weird to introverts who want to get noticed by being the best candidate and not by fighting for attention to their accomplishments. Constantly begging your bosses to choose your ideas and notice your achievements feels disingenuous. Even though you believe you deserve it in your head, you actually need to self-promote and put great effort to make your performance reviews stand out. Attentive bosses can see your worth without you making a resounding sales pitch. But not everyone is that lucky or a salesman.
What is the difference between self-promotion and bragging?
Self-promotion is the art of creating a narrative with facts and figures that highlight your abilities and achievements. Your supervisors aren’t psychic. They oversee multiple people and have so many responsibilities that they don’t know what is your exact contribution towards the growth of the business. Self-promotion is about informing them about your value addition to the company.
On the other hand, bragging sounds disingenuous because the motive is not to state the facts but to gain external validation and social status. There is no sincerity in it. Bragging is all talk and no work. More often than not supervisors easily catch when someone is bragging by asking them counter questions or by requesting facts and figures behind their statements.
Why self promotion is hard for introverts?
Self-promotion can be awkward for introverts. They loathe it when they have to beat their chests and promote their work. Introverts would be so much happier with a structure similar to video game levels. As soon as you get better, and clear a difficulty level, you are automatically promoted to the position you have earned.
For Introverts such as INTP, ISFP, INFP, INFJ, and ISFJ self-promotion can be particularly challenging. Introverts who are driven by their genuine interest in the subject matter of pure pursuit of knowledge often avoid self promotion and are therefore underestimated and underpaid. When introverts are put on the spot and forced to market themselves, they get anxious and struggle to find the right things to say. It feels unnatural and very insincere to them. It is a hard choice when they have to choose between their morals and self-promotion. After all, when you dislike other people self-promoting, you feel like a hypocrite when you do the same. Indeed, there is a thin line between coming off as arrogant and doing self-promotion.
As an introvert, if you feel emotionally drained when you have to prove your capabilities to others and convince them about your worth, you are not alone.
How to self promote as an Introvert?
The only time introverts can actually indulge in self promotion is when they are truly passionate about their work and want to share their knowledge excitedly with others.
If self-promotion is required Introverts do well when they have time to gather their thoughts. Introverts can definitely take help from their close friends, colleagues, and loved ones who can promote them, while they solely focus on doing their work with perfection.
Here are 10 easy ways to self promote and market yourself
Acknowledge your introversion
There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Since extroversion is lauded in our society, you might feel that putting on a mask of extroversion will get you noticed and help you in self-promotion. Being a fake extrovert can potentially backfire and make you awkward. Embrace your introversion and be comfortable with who you are. Use your confidence and knowledge to present facts and well-reasoned arguments to promote yourself. Your genuineness and passion for your work are the best weapons in your arsenal.
Sharpen your observation
Use your observation skills to self-promote. You don’t have to talk all the time to get yourself noticed. Sit back patiently and give your full attention to the conversation. Listen to the key aspects and pain points that are being discussed. When everyone else is talking build insights and see different perspectives of the situation. Focus on subtleties and fine aspects that have been overlooked. When the time is right jump in with your views and provide the solution. Be the mysterious problem solver. By adding value to the conversation you can demonstrate your expertise and deep thinking which will definitely make you stand out.
Bring the focus back on your work
It is common for introverts to dislike small talk. When someone asks you, “How is your life going” or “What do you do for work?” instead of thinking about weather or music, tell people about your latest project. “I’m creating a video about xyz to explain why abc happens.” When you give answers based on your hobbies or passion, the conversations not only become interesting but also give you an opportunity to self-promote. If you are at a large conference, you can tactfully convert the small talks into networking and prospecting opportunities by telling interesting tidbits about your latest project.
Keep a lookout to self-promote
Seize the opportunity whenever your boss inquires about your work or asks you, “How is it going?” Don’t blow the opportunity by saying, “everything is good” or “Not much”. Instead, talk about the accomplishments of your projects and your new projects in the pipeline.
The best way to self-promote and get yourself a raise is through performance reviews. Lose the humility and write down your achievements, challenges you have overcome and opportunities you see for yourself within the company in detail.
Build your reputation
As an introvert, if you are uncomfortable promoting yourself, you can circumvent self-promotion anxiety by building a good reputation among your peers and team members. If you are the go-to person for them who can solve their problems, provide support and applaud their work, they will be more than happy to be your brand ambassador and speak positively about you to others and surely the good words will reach your boss’s ears.
It is a pure give-and-take relationship. If you’re good with excel sheets, teach the shortcuts to someone who struggles with excel. Your colleagues would appreciate your help. This will enable you to bond with them and win friends. You need to make sure that when you help others it is from a position of strength and demonstrates your value. Don’t be a pushover by being too nice and bending over backward. This can make your own project work suffer and negatively impact your reputation.
When you appreciate, encourage, and motivate others, the good karma will come back to you. Tell your boss about a great job done by your colleagues and how it helped you save time or enhance your work. This shows your boss that you are team worker and have the best interest of the company at heart.
Maintaining a solid reputation is crucial. Keep in touch with people and re-contact them periodically. Let them know about your current projects and show a genuine interest in their work. Personal connections are more valuable than a CV or portfolio in order to land an interview or promote your business.
Bring out your energy and curiosity
If you do what you like the most and love your job, then self-promotion becomes just a by-product of your enthusiasm and passion. Your work would reflect your infectious energy and confidence. When you will tell people about something of value they will consider you a thought leader and influencer by default. Try to answer people’s questions, offer encouragement and give advice from your experience. People will be inspired by you and have faith in your abilities. They will respond to your pitch and follow your call to action.
When you are energetic and passionate about your work, you will tend to be curious to learn more about the topics of your interest. This attitude will get noticed by your boss and you can expect to get more responsibilities, mentorship roles, and eventual promotion.
Sell a narrative
Introverts often have difficulty talking about themselves and their accomplishments during interviews. Avoid repeating the sentences that are already in your resume. It is boring and even if you have done some good work it can come off as gloating. Instead, weave an interesting story about the challenges you faced and what strategies you used to overcome them. Paint an optimistic picture of your future and the optimization opportunities you see if selected for the position interviewed.
Do away with jargon and generalities. Tell people what’s in it for them and how your knowledge and talent will enrich their life or grow their business. They need to know why they should choose you over anyone else. You can get an upper hand over others if you can quantify your achievements. If you are an advertising manager, don’t just say ‘I created amazing ad copies for clients’, every other advertising manager out their does it. Instead say, the percentage growth in revenue and return on investment your ad copies achieved, what strategies you used and why your ad copies were special.
Your narrative should make them feel good about themselves. You don’t need to mimic a flatterer but show them that you genuinely care about their business.
How you end your story is crucial. Exactly tell your audience what you expect from them. Are you looking forward to a better job profile, a raise, a promotion opportunity, or a meeting request with senior management.
Know your audience
Keep in mind that there is always a right time and right place for self promotion. You have to make sure that the people whom you want to impress are in right mood and receptive to your promotion pitch. Try not to interrupt them when they are busy. Avoid choosing the time and place which is inconvenient for them.
Take cues from your experience with the audience. If your boss is a sucker of micro-management, present to him minute details of the task done and the time taken to accomplish each task in a well formulated excel sheet or PowerPoint presentation. Modulate your pitch and presentation according to your audience’s expressions, likes and dislikes. If people in higher-up management are all about uniforms, make sure you are wearing professional attire whenever you interact with them. If your boss craves new ideas and perspectives, don’t be afraid to put your point forward. The best strategy for self-promotion is to tailor your message for varied audiences by gauging where you are and to whom you’re communicating.
A good idea to self-promote is by maintaining records of all feedbacks big or small, given to you by colleagues, customers or clients, be it thank you cards, complimentary e-mails, or reviews from clients. If a customer congratulates you for a job well done, forward the email to your boss. Add a personal touch with a hint of your value addition to the company in the email. For example, ‘our sales strategy worked’, ‘client loved our new idea’, ‘here is another review from a satisfied customer that can go on our business website’ or anything which is actionable and memorable to your boss.
On special occasions, you can take the opportunity to decorate your desk with all the nice cards and client feedback about your work. This will make you stand out and get noticed by the higher-up management.
Your feedback and accomplishment list will come in handy when you have your next performance review, or if you choose to apply for another job. It can also provide you a much-needed confidence boost in difficult times.
Use job rotation for rescue
If you are feeling hard to self-promote chances are that you no longer enjoy your job. When you feel that your job is getting boring and you are losing motivation, take initiative to approach your supervisor with a job rotation request. You can also ask for any interesting project that you would like to work on. But first, do your homework. Find out the exact kind of job or project you want to do and what are the roles and responsibilities of the same. Talk to people who have had similar job profiles in past. Simply requesting a change in your job profile or department without telling the exact kind of work you want to do or find interesting, can have negative consequences.
Job rotation will not only give you the opportunity to learn more but also provide you an avenue to showcase your versatility and ability to adapt to changes in the workplace.
Self-promotion increases your chances of earning a promotion and keeping your job secure. When you market yourself and sell your achievements in a nice package, it becomes easier for management to make a choice. You don’t have to fret over self-promotion, just be proactive, genuinely connect with people and let them know how passionate you are about your work.
Hunaid Germanwala is a digital marketer and content creator at Health Products For You since 2014. He has an MS from Ulm University in Germany. His mind is always buzzing with creative ideas and is eager to explore new perspectives. His motto in life is “Better to Light the Candle than to Curse the Darkness.”