Singing your accomplishments at the office—especially a virtual one—is never an easy task, but how do you tout your achievements on the regular so that they’re always top of mind (without being annoying)? We asked Meredith Fineman, author of the new book Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion, about the four best ways to make your accomplishments known and never sell yourself short at work.
1. A Strong (and Cohesive) Bio
Per Fineman, bragging is simply the art of stating true facts about your work cohesively and strategically in order to propel your career forward and get what you want. Easy enough, right? She explains that the best place to start is with the OG bragging spot: a bio.
“People are primed to receive your brags there,” she explains. It’s a place to highlight all your greatest hits, but Fineman also advocates that you really shouldn’t leave anything out. (“That award you decide to leave out might mean something to someone who might want to book you for a panel,” she says.)
The solution? Write a long, short and two-line bio so you have all three versions at the ready. “The long bio includes everything—from the book you wrote to the speaking engagement last year. The short bio is a paragraph version of the long and the two-line bio is just that—two lines. The secret is that they all need to match the original text,” she says.
The goal is to control the narrative and be strategic about your own career. “Different versions mean the hiring manager or conference organizer or TV booker can quickly and easily know who you are based on their needs.”
2. A Better Email Signature
You send a million emails a day under typical circumstances, but lately, with everyone behind screens, it feels like even more. That’s why your email signature is a prime piece of bragging real estate, says Fineman.
“You want to use it to tell someone who you are, what you’re about, what you want to be known for in 30 seconds,” she explains.
That means it’s smart to include links to your personal website, recent projects, even a phone number so that the person you’re contacting can get in touch with you at the drop of a hat should they have a minute to spare. “If we get introduced and you have nothing in your signature, for one thing, I don’t know whether to take you seriously. But it also leads me to open a browser, Google you, then determine who you are on my own,” she says. In other words, your email signature should be you at a glance.
3. A Personal Website
Now that you’re spending more of your downtime at home—and you’ve baked all the sourdough and banana bread you can handle for the foreseeable future—it’s the perfect time to prioritize the number one marketing tool for your professional accomplishments: a personal website. “The idea is to create a one-stop shop where you are 100 percent in control,” Fineman explains. “A lot of people get nervous about the technical aspects of this, but it’s never been easier to plop down and work on a website.”
As for how to make it the ultimate bragging tool? “You want it to show your personality and be cute, but what’s more important is that everything about you is organized and all in one place.”
4. A Brag Sheet
You’ve got a review on the calendar, or heck, just a 1:1 with the CEO coming up. Instead of relying on your memory for the accomplishments you want to casually bring up and discuss, Fineman suggests keeping a running Google doc or iPhone note of your wins on a regular basis.
“Even if you only spend 15 minutes a week, that’s much easier than trying to think back,” she says. “Also, keep in mind when promoting yourself or your work, it’s never the shiniest accolade that people remember, it’s the thing you’re most enthusiastic about.”
And, given so many of us are working remotely these days, Fineman suggests catching up with your boss about how she prefers you to package your successes on an ongoing basis. “Maybe she prefers a quick email or maybe she likes more comprehensive reports. It’s worth reaching out and asking: ‘Hey, I feel like I’m doing some good work and I’d love to get some feedback. What’s the best way to communicate that to you?’”
Let the productive bragging begin.