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Career Advice: Nothing Happens Until You Sell Yourself!
by Ramon Greenwood

A well-known adage advises that you have only to invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, bearing recognition and riches. Believe me that's poor career advice! If you are content to accept that bit of career counseling, you are likely to end up with a shelf full of unsold traps.

Common sense says that inventing a better mousetrap is only the first step toward a successful career. Until potential buyers (i.e. employers) are aware of your mousetrap (i.e. your accomplishments and potential) and decide to choose you as a supplier you will be left waiting for success.

Few people are comfortable with promoting themselves. The idea generates a knee-jerk reaction: Id be too embarrassed to brag about myself. Besides, my work speaks for itself. Wrong! Nothing happens until you sell yourself.

Sometimes peer pressure says, Dont raise your flag too high above the rest of us. Well all be put on the spot so we have to perform up to a higher standard.

This is a counterproductive attitude except for those who are willing to lag behind in the comfort of the herd.

Overt braggarts are pains in the neck. Braggadocio will usually backfire. On the other hand, doing a good job, consistently, and letting the world know about it is an essential to success.

Five Ways To Promote Your Career

Here are five suggestions to help you promote your career.

1. Be sure your performance deserves recognition. You are programmed for failure if you try to take credit for more than you do.

2. Be sure your boss and the organization know what you are accomplishing. They may be taking you for granted. Seek opportunities to work with other departments. Make contacts and friends. Let them know what you do.

3. If your organization maintains a public relations office, get to know the people who work there. If they recognize you as a knowledgeable source, they are more likely to publicize your work.

4. Be active in trade associations, civic clubs and public service activities. With your employer's permission, make speeches and write articles for the trade press and general news media. Everybody wins when you do. Your employer basks in the sunlight of your achievements. You gain visibility and contacts. You polish your skills and your image.

5. If you have done a job alone, dont hesitate to accept the credit. Be just as quick to share the accolades when there has been a team effort.

Who Is Served By Your Reluctance?

If you are reluctant to promote your wares, ask yourself these questions:

If I can provide something of benefit, shouldn't I let the rest of the world know about it? Am I on an ego trip if I sit back and expect the world to beat a path to my door? Whose interests are being served by my reluctance to make known what I can do?

How many mice will I have helped to eliminate if I have built a better mousetrap, but nobody buys one because they dont know about its value?

Ramon Greenwood, Senior Career Counselor, Common Sense At Work, is a former Senior Vice President of American Express. To subscriber to his f*ee semi-monthly newsletter and blog please go to Ramon Greenwood may be contacted at or


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