How to raise your profile at work - and keep it there

Posted on: 16 , March 2017

Whenever I speak to people about raising their profile at work, I am generally met with horrified looks. There's a perception that anything we do that remotely toots our own horn, or blows our own trumpets, is deemed as "bragging" or "boasting". However, consider this, if you do not learn to articulate who you are, your experience and aspirations, how will others around you be able to open up doors of opportunity for you?

I meet lots of women (and men) who are not comfortable raising their profiles through networking, social media, blogging and so on. They are also too busy to even give the process any thought or to dedicate any time to it.

But there are opportunities around us, it's just a case of seeing them. This may involve doing something you haven’t done before - or saying yes when you would have normally said no.

It might involve a risk or taking yourself outside your comfort zone, the bottom line being: if you want to progress, it's time to raise your profile.

"Recognition is not just down to how good you are at your job or the hours you put in, it's as much about the connections you make - who you know, and who knows you"

I try to get people to think of themselves as a business within their business. If you were setting up a company tomorrow, it would need a plan, a brand, connections and marketing. You are no different in your corporate career, you need a career plan, you should be aware of your personal brand and its impact, you need a network of people to help you to get the job done, and you also need a way to market yourself for opportunities.

After 25 years of corporate life, I have often reflected on missed opportunities in my early career and how I shied away from raising my own profile. For me this was mostly due to time restrictions, fear of the unknown or feeling uncomfortable about how it might be perceived.

Here are a few scenarios that you may have overlooked as potential profile raising activities and my tips as to how to make them work for you.

1. I’m too busy doing the doing

Very early in my career I avoided any work-related events, as I was so wrapped up in my job. I was busy being busy. I was completely naive to the world of opportunity that potentially awaited me if I just unchained myself from my desk and made the effort to meet new people. It's so easy to get entrenched in our jobs and let these opportunities fall by the wayside.

Promotion and recognition is not just down to how good you are at your job or the number of hours you put in, it's as much about the connections you make - who you know, and who knows you. If you are not the room, how will that happen? Be there, be seen, go to that event, meet people, greet people, listen to their stories, share your own and nurture those connections for the future.

2. Lost for words

Picture this: you have just met someone in a senior position in your firm, they ask you who you are and what you do. You just answer with your name and department. There were several situations where this happened to me early in my career. I had my chance to make an impactful introduction, but instead I had nothing - just the basics (though, of course, I thought of the perfect thing to say and make myself memorable, after they had walked away).

I want you to think about creating and learning what some describe as an "elevator pitch", but I want you to do it Twitter-style. By that I mean short, factual and to the point. This is who I am, this is what I do, but also bringing in a little context about the impact of your job (either to the client or organisation), or you might want to mention or a project that you are working on and how it benefits the company. Having this intro in your career armoury is important - as is the ability to just roll it out in an instant.

3. It wasn’t me

Have you ever been complimented for a fantastic piece of work and, due to being uncomfortable with taking credit, you have thrown that compliment away or re-directed it towards someone else?

Someone of influence says, “that was a great piece of work you did”, you say “Oh, it wasn’t me, it was x”. Let me explain where that “it wasn't me” if continuously heard could potentially end up. It could end up in a room where someone is talking about giving you an opportunity, they reference all the good work you have done and someone else says, “it wasn't her.”

You need to own your achievements. If you are given a compliment, take it. Credit others along the way by all means, but ensure you own it. These moments of success and how they are repeated by others are invaluable for your profile.

4. If only I'd put my hand up

Wouldn't life be great if we only did the work that we are good at, and spent time with people we knew and liked? Who wants to do those projects where the road is less trodden or where there is a risk of failure?

I've stepped up for a number of what I call "stinky" projects, but I also turned a fair few down due to fear. But I now realise that it is those exact pieces of work that would have helped to raise my profile and given me invaluable experience that was different to that of my peers.

There are a number of ways you can raise your profile inside your organisations without adding to what is no doubt an already hectic schedule, it is just about seeing the additional potential in your day-to-day activities.

To read the orgianl article you can visit www.goo.gl/aZmCav