The importance of self-promotion

Self-promotion within your work; social; family; societal or community circles is an important skill to learn and implement. Most people would generally shy away from promoting themselves as they see it as a form of egoism or bragging! These types of people would rather prefer to wait for someone else to promote them and their work.

The truth, is if we wait for someone else to promote our own work, one of a few outcomes are inevitable:

  1. You might end up waiting for a while, until that other person talks on your behalf;
  2. When they do, they might not get the facts straight;
  3. They might never talk about your achievements or worse still – steal your ideas and sell it as their own!


This article attempts to demystify the art of self-promotion.


Professional Growth

True or False:

Individual recognition comes from doing your job and doing your job well. In time, someone will recognise your efforts and give you the promotion that you deserve!

Answer: False

With our hi-tech world, busy lives and senior executives who do not stay in their jobs long enough to promote people internally, the job of showcasing talent lies with you.

Smart career planning means becoming accountable for the growth of your own professional life.

Self-promotion starts by:

  • Overcoming shyness / feelings of inadequacy;
  • Honest self-assessment;
  • Believing in yourself and your capabilities.


Methods of Self-Promotion

True or False:

Self-promotion is required mainly for public relations officers and senior executives. The most common self-promotion method is to talk about your achievements to senior management at any opportunity that presents itself.

Answer: False

Self promotion is for all individuals from junior to senior methods.

Self promotion methods include:

  1. Handing out business cards;
  2. Follow up with people that you had common interests with;
  3. A follow up telephone call; email; voice mail message will solidify the person’s memory of you.
  4. Volunteer to deliver one presentation in your area of expertise.
  5. Become active in your professional organisations and business groups.


Self-Promotion & Networking

True or False:

Networking is about knowing which groups of people to talk to so that they can help you achieve your career goals.

Answer: False

Networking is about the people and how the parties involved can help each other achieve their goals simultaneously.

Networking quick tips:

  1. Start small – remember people’s names and what they do;
  2. Be a resource for people you come in contact with – Think: what piece of information can I pass on to the person I meet today?
  3. Meet people outside of your department; find common interests;
  4. Figure out how you can provide information, expertise or a contact to help them save time or money or both;
  5. Shadow friends that are good at networking;
  6. Cultivate relationships with those who share your interests.



True or False:

It is best to wait for others to publicly acknowledge your contributions.

Answer: False

False modesty is self-defeating. Note that the art of self-promotion has nothing to do with boasting, bragging and being obnoxious and pushy.

  1. The person who always defers and lets other take the credit for his or her contribution gains little thanks and no respect.
  2. If a project is a team effort; give credit to both your team and yourself.
  3. Suggest that photos be taken when your team contributed to an exciting event – include in company newsletter.
  4. If you have done a good job, ask for a letter / note commenting on your achievements.
  5. Ask that you can use as a reference in future.


Using office décor as a means to self-promote yourself

True or False:

Office décor can be useful for self-promotion. Every office needs something that will begin the conversation. A collection of wooden ducks, stunning piece of art or a beautiful wall hanging can serve as an initial point of discussion.

Answer: True

Acceptable office décor:

  1. Several nicely framed pictures of your family and friends.
  2. Several well paced plaques, tasteful gifts of recognition – get permission to frame on office walls.


  1. Over-filling your office space with trophies, certificates and pictures.
  2. Pinning up pictures with prestic or propping with a pencil holder.
  3. Large jewellery boxes, lacy picture frames and nude pictures of celebrities – these are best for your home space.
  4. Alluring glamour shots of your partner or spouse.


Self-promotion everyday tactics:

  1. Keep agreements and commitments.
  2. Keep business cards available at all times.
  3. Ensure that people in your family, social and community know exactly what you do and how to locate you.
  4. Send appropriate thank-you letters and news clippings on topics of interest to people within your network.
  5. Make business referrals to clients and colleagues.
  6. Be accessible at corporate events and social hours:
    1. Mix, mingle
    2. Don’t complain about how busy you are!


In summary

Self-promotion is a key skill within and outside of working environments. Your first step to becoming an expert self-promoter is to realize that you and only you are your best public relations person.

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