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Let's be real. Self-promotion is hard. But it doesn't have to be.

I put out this little survey on LinkedIn last week asking how people felt about self-promotion. Well, survey says y'all don't feel great about it:

I mean. Job switching isn't for the faint of heart, that's for sure. There is a list of five most stressful life events, and new job is on it (the other four are birth, death, marriage and divorce).

When we're looking for that next big gig, it can be hard to find the words to describe all of those years of effort, passion, skill-building and leadership. When imposter syndrome jobs us in the side, it can be tricky to remember all those coworkers who have sung our praises.

But really, when we break it down, self-promotion is just like any other kind of branding. Three things have to happen in order:

🦸‍♀️ Own what makes you special,

🔥 Write a personal mission that stands out, and

🚀 Shout it from the rooftops

Don't let my cute little list fool you. Owning what makes you special is HARD AS HELL, and if you're like me and go to therapy to work on self-worthiness and self-image management it's going to be even harder. But I believe in you as much as I believe in myself and we can do this.

Step one: grab your resume and make a list of the skills you learned and/or used in each position. BOOM. You've made a list of your marketable skills. Highlight the ones that you are EXTRA good at, and the ones you EXTRA love. This is a quick way to narrow down the parameters of your search.

For double bonus points bop into your LinkedIn profile and add those skills to your jobs list. It's good insurance against future interviews, plus it's easy and feels good.

Step two: ask a few trusted colleagues, friends, or previous bosses to tell you what they appreciate most about you. Seeing yourself in the third person is validating AF, and it also gives you a real sense of how you're perceived and what value you add. Feel edgy asking for kudos? Use one of these:

Hey [name], I'm polishing up my LinkedIn for 2023, would you write me a sentence or two about why you like working with me?

Hiya [name], I'm doing a career-building exercise with a branding expert, and they've asked me to poll a few friends about what makes me great to work with. Can you send me a few bullets?

Hello [name], I'm updating my resume...can you help me with something? I know I'm good at [thing one], [thing two] and [thing three], but what do you see as my best professional qualities?

Again, for double bonus points ask your peeps to copy and paste their answer into your recommendations. Part of a good self-promotion package is using other people's words.

Step three: write down your credentials. It's another list of tangibles that showcase your achievements.

I can almost hear you thinking "whaddaya mean credentials? I don't have any of those." Well, I'll bet you do. Let's see:

Did you attend/graduate high school?

Do you have a college diploma?

Are you especially proud of any of your GPAs?

Have you ever been in a club? Played a sport?

Have you won any professional awards?

Have you been on a team whose work has won awards?

Have you written any articles?

Spoken at conferences?

Have you served on any boards?

Are you part of a professional organization?

If you said yes, those are credentials. Write 'em down. Again with the LinkedIn, you can pop these in your profile. I don't have a ton of credentials, but I did write a few published pieces. This stuff can live nicely within the job that it was created within:

And now, after a few minutes of journaling (and maybe a few minutes updating your LinkedIn) you're well on your way to 🦸‍♀️ owning what makes you special.

I don't have to look you in the eye to know: you're amazing. You have skills and abilities that are just itching to connect to the perfect job, role or position. You deserve all the success in the world.

PS: if you're looking for that next big job and you're struggling to clarify your self-promotion message...I can help. Learn more about Branding Design for Bosses here.

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