Talk about self-promotion! Have you seen this meme?
If you’re somebody who feels uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion, or simply rolls your eyes when you see a post like the gushing prose above, you probably prefer the top statement to announce big news, if you announce it at all. I can relate to this: my general preference is to do my work, and if I’m happy with it, that’s what matters to me. But, that’s not the way to get ahead in many workplaces or to build up your internal or external reputation in your industry.
You’ve probably worked with somebody who is just awesome at self-promotion. Substantively, they may not be doing different work from other lawyers at their level, but their name recognition and “brand” within your workplace is really strong. The more senior you get in your career, the more important those factors are to your ability to get promoted and win business. If you struggle with the idea of self-promotion or “building your brand”, keep reading. I’m sharing three low-key ways you can raise your profile.
1. Circulate your kudos.
If a client sends you a nice email complimenting your work, forward it to your supervisor with a short note like, “Good news – the client is happy about X memo I discussed with her.” Not only is this helpful feedback for your boss to know—the client is satisfied—but it’s an easy way to demonstrate the value you’re adding to the team and to become associated with excellent client service.
2. Update team members regularly and with purpose.
When you update your team or boss on a significant piece of work you handled, do so in a way that highlights your accomplishments. If, for example, you were asked to negotiate a discovery issue with opposing counsel, put together an email summary afterward and think of it as a persuasive piece of writing rather than a simple report.
Bland: “I just had a call with Counsel for Party X and they agreed to XYZ.”
Better: “I just held a meet and confer with Counsel for Party X about the Z issue. They initially demanded ABC. I explained why that is not acceptable to our client for Reason, and after some back and forth was ultimately able to get them to agree to our demands D and E, which is great news for our client for Reason.”
Not only does this provide helpful context for your supervisor, but it calls out your negotiating skills and the positive result you achieved.
3. Rely on your marketing team.
If your firm or company has a marketing team, they can help you get speaking and writing engagements and promote your accomplishments on social media channels, like LinkedIn. In the case of LinkedIn, they may even draft a blurb you can simply share with your connections without feeling the need to come up with your own celebratory content.
Still feeling like self-promotion just isn’t for you? Try putting yourself in the shoes of your reader: when you learn that a friend or colleague closed a complex matter, won an oral argument, or had some other personal or career success, you’re happy for them, right? You want to celebrate them, right? They feel the same way about you. So let them know!
P.S. One of the places where marketing yourself is necessary is your resume and cover letter. Check out my resume review and writing services if your drafts could use some help.