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7 ways to toot your own horn (without looking like an egomaniac)

7 ways to toot your own horn

It’s an important question for anyone looking to further their career: How does one gracefully promote his or her own work without turning people off?

“Most people are reluctant to toot their own horn because of the new ‘be a team player’ mentality,” says Dr. Dawn Muhammad, vice president/head of schools for Northern Kane Educational Corp., a corporate and personal life coach and College of Humanities and Sciences faculty member at the University of Phoenix Chicago Campus.

“[But] given the state of the economy and consequently the job market, it is extremely important for employees to self-promote,” she says.

Muhammad says taking credit (and showing pride) in one’s work does not require public declarations. However, employees need to keep track of their successes and contributions and remind their bosses if necessary. Here are five ways workers can self-promote without acting arrogant or conceited:


Solicit feedback from managers and peers throughout the year — not just at performance appraisal time.

“If you’re only getting feedback from the people around you on an annual basis, how can you make adjustments to your behavior?” says Candice Shehorn, founder of Key Pointe Coaching LLC in Los Angeles and a philosophy and humanities instructor at University of Phoenix. Shehorn says supervisors appreciate employees who come to them throughout the year asking for performance feedback.


Build relationships with colleagues.

Have team spirit, be gracious and thank others when they work hard and do well. In addition, be sure to focus on those who can help. Shehorn says employees need to ask themselves, “Who are the people who can help me in my career — either with a job promotion, or a salary increase? If you want something, who is the person who can give it to you?”


Volunteer for visible assignments.

By working on higher-profile assignments, you can showcase what you know and what you can do on projects that are most visible.


Compliment yourself and the team.

“By highlighting one’s contributions within a team, one is giving credit to both themselves and the collective,” Muhammad says. “This is graceful and professional.”


Use the web.

Sites like LinkedIn®, Facebook® and Twitter® offer ways for people to self-promote, as well as to link to their work and display their achievements.


Realize that self-promotion starts with you.

According to Earl Nightingale, a pioneering personal development coach and motivational speaker, it's a mistake to believe that you are working for somebody else. “Job security is gone,” he said before his death in 1989. “The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company — you own your career!”


Know that self-promotion takes time.

Shehorn says the process of self-promotion develops over time by establishing relationships, soliciting feedback and making oneself visible in the company.


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