Are you feeling invisible at work? Do you feel like your hard work is going unnoticed? You’re not alone if you’re looking for ways to make yourself more visible and get the recognition you deserve.
We are again at the 2023 Canadian Administrative Professional of the Year award’s semi-finalist stage. I’m often blown away by how many people don’t know what an admin does, nor do they really value what an admin does. If you were hoping that someone at work would nominate you because you are deserving, you were probably disappointed. Good for you if you nominated yourself or asked someone to nominate you! If you were lucky enough to be nominated without any prompting, then consider that as good as winning!
If you’re not an admin, replace the word admin in the above paragraph with your role. People take what you do for granted. They may say the proper words of appreciation, but do people really know what you do even? It is so sad that colleagues don’t pay attention.
So how can we self-promote so others know what we do and how we add value and not sound too self-absorbed or egotistical? Most people struggle with finding the right balance between self-promotion and humility.
The truth is, if you don’t toot your own horn at work, no one else will do it for you. But it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant or boastful. Luckily, you can use a few simple strategies to get the credit you deserve without annoying your coworkers.
The way we work has changed. We sometimes work in different offices, cities, and hours than our colleagues, so it’s more important than ever to ensure your work is seen and noticed. We need to be able to do some self-promotion to ensure our best skills and achievements are noticed.
Yes, there’s a fine line between marketing yourself and coming across as boastful, but you need to learn the art of self-promotion if you want to get ahead. The key is to make sure you toot your own horn in a way that showcases your work without coming across as annoying or arrogant. Even the most well-deserved praise can come across as bragging if it’s not done the right way.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Focus on the results rather than just your efforts or the time it took you to do something. Sharing that you worked overtime every night for a week isn’t necessarily going to give the results you think it will. It might give a bad impression of your time management skills and/or boundaries. Instead, emphasize the results of your hard work rather than just the hard work itself.
For example: organizing the Canadian Administrative Professional of the Year Award is time-consuming but worth all the time and effort when I hear the stories from the nominees, see the value of this prestigious award, and think about it all the benefits it provides admins across the country by raising their profile.
If instead, I told you about how many hours are involved, the cost, the logistics, the complications, tight timelines, and so on, I’m focused on all that I give the award. It’s about ME and all the work I am doing and not the results of the work. I wouldn’t dream of doing that and instead focus on all the benefits it provides the profession. FYI – while it is a lot of hours of work, I wouldn’t stop doing it for the world!
- Ensure sure you’re speaking in terms of collective rather than individual For example, talk about “we” achieved the goal instead of “I” achieved the goal. This helps ensure you’re not being too boastful or self-centered.
Even just writing the paragraph about the hours involved was hard for me to do. It felt negative and whiny; it was all about me, which is incorrect. This award is a lot of work for many people and not just the other four judges, but each person who nominates, which requires the nominee to accept the nomination (more work), and the eventual semi-finalists have a ton of work coming their way. If I am focused on all the work at my end, I am demeaning the efforts of everyone else involved, which are substantial!
- Talk about your results privately.
Rather than bragging to your colleagues or the entire world, talk to your boss or mentors privately. That way, you can toot your own horn without putting anyone else on the spot. Be sure to capture the details for your annual performance review. Keep track of all you did in your own “brag” file, but don’t feel the need to tell the entire planet all the time.
However, it is okay to announce to colleagues (in person, via email, or social media) that you received a promotion, an accreditation, or were announced as a semi-finalist for any award. Bulk announcements have their place but perhaps pull back on the “me, me, me” aspect of the announcements.
For instance, do not say, “I was finally acknowledged for all I have given my employer over the past 10 years and was given a new title. I am now Strategic Business Partner, and it’s about time.”
- Be tactful. Don’t be afraid to give yourself credit but be sure to do it in a way that’s tactful and respectful to others.
- And finally, celebrate others. If you want to toot your own horn without coming across as too arrogant or boastful, make sure you give credit where it’s due and celebrate your colleagues’ successes, too.
Tooting your own horn at work can effectively get the recognition you deserve without coming across as obnoxious or arrogant. Just remember to focus on the results of your work and stick to the facts, and you should be able to do it without annoying your colleagues. If you follow these tips, you can get the credit you deserve without appearing overly boastful.