100% Jodi: Want to be Chosen? You’re Going to Have to Promote Yourself

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If you listened to the last 100% Jodi episode you know coming in the Fall is the “On Air Coaching” calls. I’ve already got 6 volunteers for these calls and the feedback has been incredible. Thank you all for always letting me know when I’m on the right track and when you’d like to see some changes.

This podcast definitely has an element of promoting myself as a business and leadership coach for Type A women but it’s meaningless if I’m not providing good and relevant content to you. I look at this podcast as a partnership between you and I so always reach out to me if there’s anything you want to ask or share.

Why it is Important to Promote Yourself

This episode was inspired from a recent workshop I did for a local company but let me be clear, I have this type of interaction with women several times a year.

We were doing a roundtable exercise and one of the participants brought up a situation where a new position was created in 3 separate divisions. In 2 of the divisions a male was selected and promoted to the new position but in her division, where she had a strong edge, they were taking applications to interview for the new position. Although she had been given an explanation for the discrepancy, she felt wronged and treated differently from her male counterparts.

The group felt for her but this was a savvy group so they didn’t stay on the surface of the situation. They began asking really good questions about the dynamics of the office, experience, etc.

Then I asked her, “How often to you advocate for yourself?”

She looked confused and responded that she didn’t understand the question.

Although this did not blindside me my heart broke a little bit. Too often I see women getting overlooked because they are afraid to appear to be bragging, grabbing for attention or being a bother.

The reality is those who are in positions of power, the people who can hire us, promote us or advocate on our behalf have a lot on their plate and so they are focusing on the end result and not always paying attention to how things done and by whom.

This is why, even if you are uncomfortable tooting your own horn, you have to do it anyway and work on getting more comfortable as you go.

This is true whether you are an employee or you own your own business.

Many business owners struggle with the About page of their business, they have a hard time asking for testimonials. Because they are not able to make clear declarations of “I am awesome at X and have produced these results for my clients,” they blend in the background with their competitors who are all saying the same thing.

In the office, your boss might be thanking you and congratulating you on a job well done today but will they cumulatively remember all your contributions 8 months from now when senior leadership is identifying top talent in each division?

You don’t want to blend, you want to stand out and there is a way to do that without looking like you’re not a team player.

If You are an Employee:

Document all your contributions. Keep a running list on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

Once a month, ask your boss for feedback – good and critical. This will keep you on their radar and give you a chance to remind them of your accomplishments. It’s a nice blending of accomplishments and opportunities for improvement. If self-promotion makes you queasy this is a great place to start. It also sends a clear message that you are coachable, looking to grow, gain new expertise, and be a better contributor. All the qualities a company is looking for when they are considering promotions.

If you have a team yourself, include the work you are doing to develop your team. It sounds counter-intuitive but you are freed up to take a promotion when your team can function without you. If your team is too dependent on you it will be factored as a liability when your company is looking to give you added responsibilities or a new position. It’s a potential disaster and that’s not the impression you want senior leaders to have when they think of you.

If You are an Entrepreneur:

Document all your successes, you skills, and what sets you apart from your competitors. I know some of you say, “I have no competitors because I’m so different.” That’s great! That’s what I’m talking about. List out what makes you so unique you do not have any competitors. Keep a running list and ask for testimonials to back up your list.

Ask your clients and customers for feedback. If they’ve had a good experience they will likely want to continue to work with you. However, they are also busy and a breakthrough today is the new normal a month from now. Having conversations that remind your clients and customers of where they were when they found you will help them to appreciate how far they’ve come. This is a great experience for you and them.

Tell you client stories, anonymously if need be, on your website, in social media, when you are out networking. Advocating for yourself is advocating for your clients. Share their successes because as far as your potential clients are concerned, your clients successes are your successes.

If You are Building a Team:

If you are looking to hire you want to be appealing as well. How are you doing as a boss? What’s the work environment? Do you develop your employees personally and professionally? Are their opportunities for increased responsibility and advancement? Are you flexible if life happens? Are you adaptable to other people’s communication styles? Can you give critical feedback promptly, professionally and compassionately?

How do you toot your own horn with this? You document it and have your employees hold you accountable to it. Set clear expectations on both sides and have check-ins to see how you both are doing.

If you can be this type of boss you won’t have to search hard for your next hire. Your employees will be promoting you.

Self-promotion is critical if you want to stand out of the crowd and be chosen for new opportunities.

I’ve had too many experiences in my early career when after I had left a job I would hear from former bosses and colleagues and they would say, “I had no idea how much you were doing until you left and things stopped getting done.”

Don’t let my story be your story. Get the rewards for your efforts now.

If you have a woman in your life that you know is not advocating for herself please share this with episode with her. Remember the old commercial, Friends don’t let friends drive drunk? Well, friends don’t let friends go through life being overlooked.

I hope this was helpful to you and here’s to your success!

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