The Art of Subtle Self-Promotion

May 18, 2022 | Administrative Professionals

As an administrative professional, you’re used to working behind the scenes. Your job is to make your executive look good in the spotlight, not to shine it on yourself. You may even feel more comfortable behind the curtain than on stage.

And that’s OK…most of the time. However, to keep your career moving forward, you need to practice some self-promotion, too.

There’s a big difference between bragging and subtle self-promotion. Bragging is implying that you’re somehow better than others. You brag to stoke your own ego. For instance, “I was just promoted to team lead and got a big raise because I’m the best admin ever!”

Self-promotion is stating a fact. For example, “After five years with my company, I finally got the promotion I’ve been working towards. It feels rewarding to have accomplished my goal.”

Why You Should Share Your Accomplishments

Sharing your accomplishments is a necessary part of your career development. Here’s why:

  • It helps you build a powerful personal brand and reinforces the value you add.
  • It’s instrumental in being considered for opportunities – both internally and externally. If no one knows what you’re working on or accomplishing, you’re not as likely to be thought of when better opportunities arise.
  • It’s your job to showcase your accomplishments during your annual performance review, so they become part of your permanent record. This can impact your job title, job description, raises, and promotions.
  • Keeping your network informed helps people track down resources, find mentors, brainstorm solutions, share best practices, and much more. You never know when we’re going to need help or when someone else will need your support.
  • It helps you make new connections, both virtually and in real life. You’re not just a face in the crowd anymore; you have a story that resonates with someone else, allowing you to expand your professional network and build lasting relationships.

Again, self-promotion is not about boasting or bragging. It’s about keeping your career in motion and helping others along the way.

Tips on Self-Promotion

Now that you know why self-promotion is so important, here are a few tips on how to genuinely and authentically share your accomplishments with others.

  • Be a helpful resource. You don’t have to make everything about you. Make the things you share about helping others. Whether you send things by email or share via social media, include articles and posts from others that you find helpful with a comment on how it helped you or a tidbit that you think is noteworthy. This helps establish you as a go-to resource and expert in your field without declaring, “Hey, I’m an expert here, listen to me!” 
  • Share professional accomplishments when they occur. Make sure to provide context for why the accomplishment is noteworthy. “I finally did it! I passed my first Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Outlook today. It took a few weeks of studying, learning how to use some different features, and taking practice tests, but it was worth it. And I’m already using the things I learned to better leverage Outlook for daily task management! Next up, my PowerPoint certification.” You can share it by email with your executive and share it online with your social connections. This not only highlights your new credential and expertise in this area, but it allows you to educate others on the fact that there is a Microsoft certification program that may benefit their career, too. 
  • Create a professional portfolio – in print and online. At heart, a professional portfolio is all about self-promotion for all of the right reasons – proving your skills in an interview, highlighting your accomplishments at review time, and educating your executive on how to leverage your strengths. It shows others what you excel at, where you add value, and why you’re the exact person they need. And it’s all backed up by work samples that provide proof of your statements! 
  • Give a shout-out to people who have helped you along the way. If someone has played a significant role in an accomplishment, thank them! “I just earned my CAP! I can’t thank Robin enough for all the support, encouragement, and late-night study sessions.” This allows you to authentically share your accomplishment and genuinely show gratitude for the support of those who helped you achieve it. 
  • Don’t dismiss yourself. If you’re worried about coming across as bragging, there’s a temptation to downplay your accomplishments or use self-depreciating humor when you talk about what you achieve. Don’t do it! If you’re sharing something, it’s a big deal. If it’s not a big deal, it probably doesn’t need to be shared. 

Highlighting your professional accomplishments can be intimidating, but be brave! Your achievements are worth sharing, and it can have a big impact on your career when you do it with authenticity and confidence!

© 2022 Julie Perrine International, LLC


Want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or website? You can — just as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. 

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