How to promote yourself without bragging or leaving information out

September 13, 2014 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nonjudgment, Tips

How do you promote yourself for a promotion?

When you want a role on a project, how do you suggest you’d be great for the role?

Promote too much and you risk sounding insecure, presumptuous, inauthentic, or like you’re bragging. Promote too little and you risk not getting the role.

Talking with one of my clients yesterday, when I described how I successfully promoted myself to a recent project, she made me stop and repeat myself so she could take down the words for future use.

As I wrote in “The value of low-level instruction,” I consider low-level instruction most valuable for learning leadership, so first I’ll post the words she liked so much, then describe them. The words I said to her were

I have experience with that role and I’m enthusiastic about doing it.

I could write slightly different alternatives:

I have experience doing it and would enjoy working on it.

I’ve succeeded in such roles on projects like this before and would look forward to contributing to this one.

I avoid saying I’m good at it, which is a judgment and they may have different criteria than I do. If they don’t think I was good in my past role, now they’ll question my values too. I can document experience.

I don’t tell them to pick me or pitch myself because then they can say no. I don’t want people evaluating me before I made my full case. I keep early emails short. Suggesting I have experience invites them to ask me about it, which continues a dialog, which I want because I have confidence in my experience and ability to communicate.

There is a philosophy behind those words so you can vary them for your circumstances. You’ll say them differently in conversation than you’ll write them or present them.

I hope they work for you.

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