The simple act of self-promoting can help open doors and score, well, actual promotions, yet so many of us still get the ick when it comes to publicising our achievements. Take the advice of these women who have mastered the art...
Stefanie Sword-Williams found her anti-self-doubt platform, F*ck Being Humble, in 2018. Now she delivers talks to the likes of Google and Unilever.
Nicole Crentsil is a cultural curator and the CEO of Black Girl Fest, London, a creative community and arts festival for Black women, girls, and non-binary people.
Joanne McNally is a comedian with a whole host of sell-out stand-up shows.
Jana Starcevic worked as a fashion designer on some of our most-lusted-after high-street brands before starting her stationery company, The Completist.
ASK YOURSELF WHY
Do you want a promotion, a pay rise, more responsibility? “Before anybody starts self-promoting, I encourage them to think ‘What is a good outcome for me?’” says Stefanie Sword-Williams, who had six jobs in seven years. Though frowned upon by some, this taught her how to never be shy about her achievements, especially in interviews.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t shout about. “Corporate culture moves so quickly that there’s often little time to big up your wins,” says Nicole Crentsil, who grew Black Girl Fest so successfully that Forbes named her one of 100 women to follow on Twitter and LinkedIn. “What you brag about can feel like it’s dictated by the role you’re in. If you’re a junior and you want to talk about helping to score a big client, do it. It’s hard to measure whether your win is ‘worthy’ enough, but working for myself, I had to promote my skills. Now, I brag about the smallest things.”
SHAKE OFF THE SHAME
“I didn’t feel comfortable self-promoting when I was employed as a fashion designer, but when you’re an entrepreneur, bragging is almost a necessity,” adds Jana Starcevic. “At my first trade show, someone told me what a key buyer was wearing, so I lured her in with sweets and gave her my pitch. It worked. Wanting to be in certain stores outweighed the shame of self-promoting. If you don’t believe in you, why would anyone else?”
DO IT REGULARLY
Don’t wait for your performance review. In Nicole’s last job before she went freelance, she and her manager has a coffee and catch-up every Friday. “She’d say, ‘What do you need from me? Is there anything I haven’t signed off?’ and I could seek some love for my work. Put those check-ins in the diary with your boss as often as possible.”
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