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Getting ahead is a perpetual challenge faced by everyone on a daily basis, particularly if you are a corporate lemming in a large organisation. However, promoting yourself with the people that matter is like walking a fine line, and if you don’t tread carefully you can quickly find yourself branded a narcissist for life.

Most people take two extreme positions when it comes to self promotion at the workplace; they either parrot their achievements ad-nauseam or simply go through life in a tight-lipped picture of modesty. Both approaches do not work in the long run.

So how does one walk that elusive middle ground? Here are some practical tips:

  1. Focus on results. Its time consuming but nothing beats getting a reputation for being a person who gets things done. Remember people ultimately do not hire people, they hire solutions to their problems. All your previous achievements and skill-sets are simply tools to get things done. So go ahead and create a track record of doing so.
  2. Praise others. When speaking of your achievements, speak about how your colleagues and teams made the goal achievable. One rarely does things alone, so taking people along creates a positive impression and brings in others who appreciate your contribution and will sing your praises.
  3. Integrity is paramount. Ensure you never take what is yours. Stand up for the merits of your viewpoints and always be a source of good advice and support. With a reputation based on this, there is no way you will go wrong.
  4. Network with tact. Visibility is everything. Create a circle of influence with your colleagues and superiors. Seek advice, use opportunities to learn and be ready to lend a helping hand. Use new technology to network, but do all of this without invading another person’s personal space.

— Tariq Ziad Khan

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 31, 2012.

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