Insights & Ideas

Tooting your own horn: 7 savvy ways to demonstrate your value at work

Your work doesn’t always speak for itself. Want a new role or promotion? You’re going to have to promote yourself.

Pssst. Yeah, you. Here’s a hot career tip: Despite what your mama (or whoever) told you, promoting your value in the workplace isn’t boasting. It’s a strategic career move. Especially in a hybrid or remote team, workplace humility can limit your career.

The good news is you don’t have to be a showoff or a braggart. You can demonstrate your merits authentically and constructively. Here’s how to promote yourself at work and show your value.

1. Sharing your progress is part of being a good employee or consultant

When done right, self-promotion can help your coworkers as much as it helps you. After all, when you do great things, the company benefits. Talking about your accomplishments might change a business strategy, help your team plan for the future, or shine a light on new opportunities for you and others. (Can festering at your desk because nobody notices your achievements do that?)

2. Help your boss help you

Bosses (no matter how great they are) can’t keep track of everything. So, when you provide regular progress updates it makes your boss a more effective manager—whether they’re helping you achieve your career goals or representing your team to company leadership. Ask your leader how they’d like to be updated about your accomplishments. And be sure to leverage opportunities in 1:1s and performance reviews to talk about your value and career goals. Your manager will thank you.

Hint: Keep a running log about your day-to-day successes large and small to share with your manager. That way you won’t forget all the good stuff you’ve done.

3. Link your accomplishments to a larger purpose

Every team is trying to accomplish something, from fulfilling the company mission to achieving sales goals. To impress people without acting pompous, show a correlation between your work and your team’s strategic objectives. When determining how to show your value, ask yourself:

  • How does my work further team goals?
  • What have I contributed to the team?
  • Which of my projects or tasks have the most impact?
  • What was my role in successful projects?
  • How do my soft skills (e.g., teamwork, communication, grace under pressure) improve the team dynamic?

4. Focus on quantifiable outcomes

Another way to promote yourself (without feeling awkward) is to focus on the outcomes of your work. For example, highlight times when you:

  • Improved a process
  • Reduced costs/added revenue
  • Achieved your goals
  • Innovated a successful product
  • Increased productivity
  • Met your deadlines
  • Managed satisfied employees

Then, add numbers to those outcomes. Somehow numbers make your achievements sound more real and exciting when it comes to how to show your value at work. For example, if you tell your boss, “My team is happy and works well together,” your boss might not take too much notice. But if you say, “We increased our team’s satisfaction survey by 38% in 6 months and here’s how we did it…” your boss will likely be interested and impressed.

5. Build a network and become an indispensable resource

Your boss isn’t the only one who needs to know about your talents, skills, and accomplishments. Lots of other people can benefit from knowing what you’re good at and what your career goals are. To build those connections:

  • Praise coworkers who worked on successful projects with you (it will reflect well on you and your colleagues)
  • Offer your service as “the office expert” on a specific skill or process
  • Volunteer for new projects, roles, task forces, etc.
  • Ask for feedback or advice on a specific aspect of a successful project
  • Meet up with key contacts regularly and talk about what’s up in your world

6. Get yourself noticed through enthusiasm

If you’re an enthusiastic advocate for your work or organization, people will notice fast and remember your dedication. For example, you could:

  • Show your smarts with posts about your work on social media (e.g., LinkedIn)
  • Celebrate day-to-day successes for you and your coworkers at the “water cooler” (or the virtual equivalent)
  • Speak up in meetings or show interest in discussing key topics after a meeting ends

7. Finally, ask for feedback and accept compliments

Ask colleagues and coworkers for feedback on your work or on the outcomes of your projects. Ask them what’s going well, what could be improved, and how else you could help them. This builds relationships and provides insights on your strengths (and areas of improvement.)

And, when someone recognizes your hard work or skills, don’t say things like, “it was nothing.” Compliments are people telling you that your actions impacted them in a positive way. So, don’t brush it off. How do you respond while demonstrating your value at work? Answer those words with a “thanks very much” or “thanks for noticing.” (And then add that compliment to your log of successes, so you don’t forget it!)

So, go ahead and toot your own horn. You’re worth it!

See there are plenty of great ways to show how much value you bring to an organization. It takes some time and energy, but that hard work adds up—helping you get opportunities to make your career more meaningful and rewarding.

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