5 ways to close the self-promotion gap

New research that I commissioned in partnership with Southpaw Insights and Upstream Analysis reveals a self-promotion gap.

  • On one side: Women find stories about other women’s accomplishments inspiring.

  • On the other: Women tend to not only not talk about their accomplishments, but, in fact, to minimize them.

Ladies, we need to start seeing self-promotion as an altruistic act.

Here are five ways to get started.

5 ways to close the self-promotion gap

  1. Use social media to spotlight women you admire.

    This one’s kind of a cheat, because you still aren’t talking about yourself, but while you’re getting up the nerve to begin sharing more of your own professional life online, start using your social media presence to celebrate the accomplishments of women you know and admire. Write a Facebook post/LinkedIn post/ tweet telling us what they did or do that you think is amazing, whether it’s winning an award or other honor, launching a passion project, standing up for themselves or someone else, training for a 5k — the possibilities are endless.

  2. Share what you’re up to professionally.

    Now it’s your turn. The easiest place to share glimpses of your work life is on LinkedIn; commit to posting there at least once a month about something you’re working on. For example, you might talk about a new program/product/service your team is developing, how you recently helped a client, or a conference or other event you’re attending and what you hope to learn.

    This kind of sharing doesn’t just have to happen online. Speak up at networking events and social gatherings. Contact a local Girl Scout troop and offer to come talk about your job, or simply have a one-on-one conversation about your work with a younger woman or girl you know.

  3. Write a strong headline for your LinkedIn profile that does your career justice.

    Don’t just list your current title; unless your title is unusually clear/descriptive,, and/or most people have heard of the company you work for, you’re better off with a descriptive headline. Avoid jargon. You want to use language that gets people interested in reading about your specific accomplishments. Which brings me to #3….

  4. On LinkedIn, list at least three accomplishments for each of your most recent roles.

    Copying and pasting your job description into your profile doesn’t usually tell us what you actually do; specific accomplishments paint a much clearer picture. When capturing your accomplishments, it’s great to tout results,, but it’s even more powerful if you also convey the problem you were trying to solve and any challenges you overcame. Hat tip to Laura Labovich, CEO of The Career Strategy Group, and award-winning resume writer, for teaching me this.

  5. When someone asks you what you do, answer in a confident and specific way.

    Too often, we women answer the question, “So, what do you do?,” as if we’re apologizing: “Eh, I’m a lawyer,” we mumble, swallowing our words, and then we quickly change the topic. Well NO MORE! As the fictional (but magnificent!) Captain Holt says on Brooklyn 99, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.”

Remember, you aren’t doing any of this to toot your own horn — you’re doing it to shift the narrative around what women are up to in the world. (Repeat after me: If we can see it, we can be it). However lame or insignificant you may find your life or career, the data is very clear: Women WANT to hear about your successes and accomplishments. Downplaying them serves no one.

Remember: You are a mighty force. And when we speak up about what we’re capable of, and what we’ve achieved, we help make women, collectively, a mightier force, indeed.

Rawr.

If you want a partner to help you figure out how best to express your professional accomplishments, and/or craft your online presence, I’d love to talk. Schedule an introductory call.

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Amanda Hirsch