All Articles Leadership Careers Authentic self-promotion: Let your value shine

Authentic self-promotion: Let your value shine

Don't shy away from self-promotion to advance your career, writes Joel Garfinkle, who offers 4 steps to outline your accomplishments.

4 min read



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Joel Garfinkle

You know you’re good — you deserve recognition, increased responsibility and a promotion to the next level. But does anyone else know? Many employees are passed by or completely overlooked simply because senior management doesn’t know how valuable they are — or because senior management doesn’t know these employees are looking for more responsibility. To make the most of your talents, you must know your worth and be comfortable in authentic self-promotion to communicate it to others — particularly if a promotion or recognition is what you need to feel valued.

“Take responsibility for your own career. Don’t assume that others are aware of the good work you’re doing. When I was a young accountant, I was unhappy about not getting a promotion. I went to my supervisor and told him all of these things that I thought I should be given credit for, and he said, “Well, gee, I didn’t know that you had done all of these things.” It was a real wake-up call. You don’t have to be a bragger, but I think it’s very important that we make people aware of our accomplishments…” – Sharon Allen, Former Chairman of the board, Deloitte & Touche USA 

Knowing your worth can be surprisingly tricky. You are the primary expert on your talents and experience, but without outlining your achievements through self-promotion, it’s easy to lose sight of all you’ve accomplished. Below, I’ve outlined a process for documenting and portraying your successes to create a perception that accurately reflects your impact on the organization. To effectively track your success and effect, follow the tips listed below. 

1. The value you’ve provided to the company

Because bottom-line responsibility increases as you advance, stating accomplishments in financial terms is especially useful. Those aren’t the only accomplishments worth tracking, of course. However, whatever information you capture should be based on measurable facts like increased employee retention, reduced hours spent on a task, or more sponsor donations.

2. Accomplishments relevant to the promotion you want

Regardless of your title, your current position offers the opportunity to gain experiences that will propel you toward your next promotion. Look beyond your current responsibilities to the tasks and projects you’ve undertaken in other arenas and on behalf of others. Actively pursue experiences outside your job duties to showcase abilities that might not get much exposure in your current position. Remember to write down how you’ve demonstrated the abilities necessary for your next opportunity.

3. Development of your executive presence

Those in a position to promote you are looking for certain qualities important for leadership. Please be sure to look for ways to polish and practice your executive presence at every opportunity. You must demonstrate confidence, poise under pressure, charisma, reliability and trustworthiness. You don’t need to be already a leader or executive to convey your ability to be concise and commanding. Make your professional demeanor part of your every day.

4. Project-based success

More than the day-to-day flow that is the ordinary course of any business projects large and small are fixed in the memories of those in senior positions. Be sure to document your role, including the deliverables or functions you executed, who you supported and reported to. Highlight your contributions and the benefits (monetary and otherwise) of the initiatives you were a part of. 

Above all, knowing your worth means being — and valuing — yourself instead of developing a false image that imitates someone you consider successful. Identify and track your unique abilities and accomplishments and use them as a springboard to create success for your career. 


Want to make sure that senior leadership knows your impact and value? Hire Joel as an executive coach to help you get your desired promotion or recognition. Two of Joel’s books will help you achieve more work success:  (1) Getting Ahead and (2) Executive Presence. Joel is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the US and is the author of 11 books. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter or view his video library of over 200+ easily actionable two-minute video clips by subscribing to his YouTube Channel.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own. 


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