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The Subtle Art of Self Promotion

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By Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, Sept. 14, 2007-(MarketWatch)-In today’s work world — where companies are regularly acquired by competitors, departments are repeatedly reshuffled and staff members always seem to be moving up or moving on — it’s easy for your accomplishments to be overlooked.

To ensure that you get the recognition you deserve, it’s important to master the subtle art of self promotion.

Here are five ways to highlight your achievements without making yourself look like a braggart or a buffoon. They come from “Selling Yourself Without Selling Out,” a book by Gina Hernez-Broome, Cindy McLaughlin and Stephanie Trovas of the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit training organization:

Educate up. If your boss is too busy to stay abreast of your activities, make it your job to keep her up-to-date. Schedule a weekly meeting or send regular e-mails detailing your accomplishments and addressing any issues. But keep the remarks concise, informative and balanced.

“Don’t talk about you, talk about the broader organizational impact of your actions,” says Trovas.

Expand your network. Say good-bye to the old bunker mentality and make an effort to reach out to people outside your department. You can ask them to participate in a cross-departmental project or simply sit in on a meeting. Not only does this encourage collaboration, but also it’s a natural way to spread the word about what you’re working on.

“By inviting new people into the fold, you’re creating more visibility for yourself and your team,” says Trovas.

Tap other people’s expertise. Many of us assume that asking for help makes us look weak or incompetent. In fact, tapping other people’s expertise can help you build a stronger network. By asking for help, you’re not signifying that you don’t know what you’re doing; you’re simply acknowledging that your colleagues have complementary skills — a gesture they’re sure to appreciate and remember.

Acknowledge your team. If you tend to underplay your own accomplishments out of modesty, one of the most comfortable means to gain visibility is to acknowledge the efforts of your team.

“In this way, you’re talking about a collective effort and taking the focus off the individual,” says Trovas.

Celebrate success. If your team or department has just made a big sale or completed a long-term project, don’t be shy about it. Give a party, print some t-shirts or send out an office-wide e-mail praising everyone’s efforts. Celebrating will help you advertise your achievements and set the office abuzz.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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