Are you playing the game to get promoted?

Originally published in Huffington Post http://ow.ly/pVpL304VnrB

Are you uncomfortable selling yourself or do you struggle with getting the recognition you deserve? You’re not alone.

Women not only receive less credit for their achievements but they also give themselves less credit, linking their performance to sheer luck or hard work according to the Women in the Workplace 2015 report by Lean in and McKinsey.

Promoting yourself can be a political minefield. While you need to make your accomplishments known, boasting is never received well at work. This delicate balance is even harder for women who have to navigate existing gender stereotypes.

Expectations regarding how women should behave at work present a double edged sword. On the one hand women are expected to show concern, kindness, warmth and friendless but on the other, they need to compete in work environments that demand assertiveness, self-promotion, competitiveness and ambition.

This article shares four ways women can promote themselves and overcome existing barriers to career advancement.

Own Your Achievements
To get promoted you need to first promote your work and yourself. When women don’t own their work, their talent and achievements can often be overlooked. Overcome this by simply writing them down. 
At least once a month, write down your key accomplishments. This includes documenting what your key tasks are, what you achieved and importantly how you worked with others to realize these outcomes. This forces you to get comfortable with acknowledging your work and communicating your strengths.

To build confidence in your performance, your achievements need to be in the front of your mind. Regularly seeing them in black and white will remind you of how far you’ve come and believe that you are ready for the next step up.

Seek Support With Speaking Up
Once you are comfortable with your achievements how can you ensure they get recognized? Learning to voice achievements is a key hurdle many women face, but you don’t need to do it alone.

To get comfortable selling yourself, team up and ask a woman you respect to pitch your promotion to you. Using your list of achievements, your advocate can help you identify the key reasons why you deserve to get promoted and how to put this into words. Practicing this will help you build confidence and ensure you have a readymade script for when you put your case forward.

Balance Promoting Others With Promoting Yourself
Women are more likely to praise others for their contributions than themselves. Largely this is because prevailing gender stereotypes encourage women to be modest. Underplaying contributions reduces their value and prevents women from building credibility.

To overcome this, balance giving praise with accepting praise. Start by using the word “I” when discussing achievements, said Selena Rezvani, in her book The Next Generation Of Women Leaders.

Carefully using the word “I” will clarify what aspects of an accomplishment you are taking ownership of versus using the word “we” to signal a team effort. A small change in language is a powerful way to take ownership of your accomplishments, while balancing the “give and take” aspects of recognition.

Build Your Employability 
Being employable is as important as being promotable. Understanding why you are valuable to your organization will give you the confidence to speak up and ask for what you want.

Careers no longer follow a straight line upwards in one organization but often involve several zig-zag moves across many organizations. Employability is more than just work experience, rather it’s about having the right kind of experience. This means knowing what skills you already have and what you need to work on to get your next job.

Keeping track of your key attributes and regularly reviewing job openings will give you sense of how employable you are and what areas you need to develop to get your next promotion.

The key to getting promoted is knowing your worth and what sets you apart, which will give you the confidence to go for that next job opportunity.

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