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Careers in Tech 2020

How to raise your profile at work

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Vanessa Vallely

Founder,We Are The City (We are Tech Women)

There is a perception that anything we do to ‘blow our own trumpets’ is deemed as bragging or boasting. However, if you don’t learn to articulate who you are and share your experience and aspirations, how will doors of opportunity open for you?

Be seen, be heard, stand up

I often try to get individuals to think of themselves as a business within their wider business. For example, if you were setting up a new business, that business would need a plan, a brand, connections and marketing. You are no different in your own career – you need a career plan; you should be aware of your personal brand and its impact; you need a network of people to help you to get the job done; and you also need a way to market yourself for opportunities, if you want to progress.

Too busy being busy

Very early in my career, I avoided any extra internal or external, work-related events as I was so wrapped up doing my job, I was busy being busy. I was completely naive to the world of opportunity that potentially awaited me; I just needed to make the effort to grow my network and meet new people. Promotion and recognition are not just down to how good you are at your job, or the number of hours you put in. They are as much about the connections you make, who you know, and who knows you. If you are not in the room, how will that happen? Be there, be seen, go to that event, meet people, greet people, listen to their stories, share your own and nurture those connections for the future.

If you continuously discredit your own work, you under-value your worth. You need to own your achievements.

Your value

Picture this, you have just met someone in a senior position, they ask who you are and what you do. You answer with your name, department and maybe the odd comment about who you work for. I want you to think about creating and learning an ‘elevator pitch’. However, I want you to do it Twitter-style. By that, I mean short, factual and to the point: this is who I am, this is what I do – but also – bring in a little context about the impact of your job, mention a piece of work or a project that you worked on and how it benefits the company. 

Take ownership

Have you ever been complimented for a fantastic piece of work you completed but, being uncomfortable with taking credit, you re-directed it towards someone else? If you continuously discredit your own work, you under-value your worth. You need to own your achievements. If you are given credit, take it! Credit others along the way, but ensure you own it too, these moments of success are invaluable for your profile.

If it scares you, do it!

Wouldn’t life be great if we only did work that we are good at and only spent time with people we knew and liked? Who wants to work on projects where the road is less trodden, or where there is a risk of failure? I stepped up for a number of what I call ‘stinky projects’, but I also turned a fair few down due to fear of failure. However, I now realise that these pieces of work or projects would have helped to raise my profile and given me invaluable experience that was different to that of my peers. On reflection, I should have felt the fear and done it anyway!

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