Modesty Move Over – It’s About Shameless Self Promotion

by Linda Franklin 

Stand out from the crowd: Don't be afraid to promote yourself if you want to be successfulStand out from the crowd: Don’t be afraid to promote yourself if you want to be successful.
Women do understand that self-promotion is the key to success, but too many shy away from it. Why is that? Could it be the notion that it’s inherently unfeminine to champion yourself?

Not only are women bad at self-promotion, sometimes we do the exact opposite.

Peninah Thomson, chief executive of the Mentoring Foundation which aims to get more women round the boardroom table, says: ‘Women are more likely to tell you three good reasons why they’re not ready for promotion, whereas a man will give you ten good reasons why you should promote him, even if they are of equal ability.

It’s natural to thrive when you are reminded how good you are, but women by nature, are terribly self-critical.  We have to get over believing that self-promotion is not about puffing yourself up, it is merely stating the truth about your achievements with poise and confidence.

Women also need to assume authority rather than waiting to be given it.

Findings by the international research group Catalyst has found that self-promotion is the single most effective key to women’s success, not just in business but romance and friendship, too.

Those who did the most to make their achievements known advanced further, were more satisfied with their careers and got better pay rises than those who didn’t.

There are times when modesty is appropriate — giving credit to your team for example — and times when it isn’t. There are very few examples of senior executives who are soft-spoken introverts.’

So what can women do to boost their self-confidence — and consequently their willingness to self-promote — in the workplace?

First and foremost, it’s taking the time and having the endurance to get sufficient road under your tires. In other words, climbing the ladder demands resilience and hard work, not just telling yourself you’re a star.

Along the way you need to invest in yourself, by adding to your qualifications. And then there are things such as public speaking, which is essential today, and learning the skills of networking.  You can’t put a price on networking.  Today getting ahead is all about relationship building.  

Women have to learn not to take the safe road.  Success is all about taking risks.

Here’s a few tips for successfully blowing your own horn:

  • Volunteer rather than waiting to be asked.
  • Take a risk — such as working abroad for six months.
  • Strike a balance between confidence and over-confidence.
  • Be visible rather than a wall flower.
  • Request a pay increase and come prepared with your list of accomplishments.  
  • Focus on your successes rather than your failures.
  • Network, network, network.
  • Seek out a mentor, someone who will champion you. People love to give advice.
  • Dress for the job you want.

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