You need to “Raise your Profile” – three words that have filled me with dread throughout my career. How about you? If you’re naturally more introverted or just not used to “blowing your own trumpet” then this doesn’t come naturally. But it is necessary to further your career.
The reality is that “invisible” people rarely get promoted, they do not get the recognition they deserve and they are often left feeling unfulfilled. I know what you’re thinking – “if I just get my head down and do a good job, then I will get recognition” – and that does work for a while, until it doesn’t any more. That’s when you start to notice the less experienced (and frankly less skilled) team members being promoted ahead of you or your colleagues being given the exciting projects you wanted.
Uncomfortable as it may be for you, the reality is – to get recognition – you need to be visible. But how? I am going to share some tips below on how to get more visible and “raise your profile” without feeling like you’re selling out or “playing the game” like many of my coaching clients often call it.
1. Speak up more in meetings – this is the number one way to get yourself visible. It’s important that you get your voice heard and contribute in meetings. If you’re not, what’s the point in you being there anyway? If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, make sure you are well prepared before the meeting with some ideas of what you could contribute, no matter how small. Even making sure you are on a call / in the room early enough to contribute to the ‘small talk’ at the beginning of a meeting can help you to build rapport with your colleagues and show them your human side.
2. Grow your network – if you find yourself siloed in your department or even within your company, then its time to broaden your network. It’s a great way to increase your overall awareness of the company or industry and it has the bonus of increasing your visibility. You can do this through formal networking events but if that fills you with dread, there are other ways! Listen to this podcast episode for more tips on building your network: Oh for Food’s Sake: How to build your network
3. Strengthen your relationship with your boss – your relationship with your line manager really matters. They often hold the key to unlocking your visibility in an organisation so its important that they like and trust you. It is also important that they understand what you do and what you are achieving. In 1:1 meetings, when they ask you how a certain project is going, it can be tempted to just say “it’s all under control” but that really down plays what you have had to do to keep things under control. So make sure you expand with statements like “well, I averted an issue last week by doing X and now it is under control” – by making it clear the project is smooth sailing because of your actions is a much more powerful message than “it’s fine”. This is how you get the recognition you deserve. Don’t assume your boss will appreciate all the work going on behind the scenes.
4. Become the ‘go to’ expert – think about your strengths and how you can maximise them in a particular specialism. Are you a whizz on Excel in a department full of creatives that hate spreadsheets? Then let yourself be known as the ‘go to’. Being helpful is a great way to raise your profile without feeling like you’re shouting “look at me!” from the rooftops! If you can’t think of anything, then maybe use this as an opportunity to develop a new skill or do some training in an area that will benefit the business as well as yourself. Then find ways to demonstrate this skill.
5. Volunteer – you need to be willing to put yourself forward for stuff outside of the day job, to increase your visibility. So, ask to be part of those big meaty projects that are high profile and will expose you to more senior people within your organisation.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward for fear of rejection because just the act of volunteering itself raises your profile as it’s a clear statement of intent that you want more. One of the best things that ever happened to me was being rejected from an international move I had applied for in the business I worked in. It highlighted to senior management that I was hungry for more – and I was moved into a leadership role within months.
Volunteering doesn’t have to be restricted to work related projects either, if your organisation does charitable work, get involved as this will often given you greater exposure and might get you a mention in the company newsletter or social media (as well as giving back, of course!).
6. Find a mentor – one of the greatest things you can do for your career advancement is find yourself a mentor. They can offer valuable advice and will often serve as ‘sponsors’ for you, within the company and further afield (you’re tapping into their network as well as your own now!). Not sure where to find a mentor? You can start by asking thinking about the people you really look up to within (or outside of) your organisation. Who would you aspire to be in a few years time? Don’t be afraid to ask, many people are really flattered to be asked to be a mentor.
By doing some or all of these things, you can go from being “the good, solid, reliable one” who just gets her head down and gets on with the job – to standing out from the crowd and getting the recognition and career fulfilment you truly deserve.
It can be hard to do this stuff alone, if you need a helping hand, I work 1:1 with professionals on increasing their impact and visibility. To book a call to discuss how I can help, use this diary link