Humility is our enemy in today’s competitive working world. Unless we can master the art of self-promotion, we could find ourselves without a job—and without a worthwhile reference to help us land a new one. Rick Gillis’s quick-read handbook, Promote!, makes the case for adopting an accomplishment-oriented mindset and walks readers through a step-by-step process to prepare the narratives that will place us heads and shoulders above the rest.
Gillis lays out strategies that allow readers to quantify and convey their direct value to bosses and supervisors. Unlike a mere listing of roles and responsibilities that we use on a resume, he advises making a regular habit of documenting professional accomplishments. The trick is to couch accomplishments in terms of their results: how they either make or save the company money.
For example, an accomplishment should be crafted into a single, three-part statement that conveys what you did, the results, and what value it added. It might look something like: “Created a digital filing system that resulted in 300 man-hours saved per week, enabling the company to save $6 million annually.”
But why is it imperative to regularly communicate our value to our boss and to our boss’s boss since a direct supervisor can move on and the opportunity for promotion can arise at any time? First, says Gillis, it’s risky to assume that your boss knows what it is you really do and it’s important to prove your indispensability to an employer. He uses the analogy that each employee is an employer’s investment, and any employee who behaves like an underperforming stock in a portfolio is likely to get dumped. But, “what if that investor had inside information that would indicate that she should hold on to that stock? Your accomplishments are that inside information.”
Those just starting out in their careers are granted some leeway in terms of having professional accomplishments they can offer. However, they still need to articulate to potential employers their personal accomplishments in school or previous work that illustrates a problem solved or a process improved. “However, ” Gillis warns, “after you land your first position, you are, from that moment forward, playing in the big leagues”, meaning, now and forever more you need to build your case for job retention or promotion.
With Promote! Gillis helps move readers past the cultural hurdle that conditions us to downplay our accomplishments. Instead, he shows us how to hone our self-promotion skills, and arms us with a strong weapon for career survival. To learn more, visit rickgillis.com.