Practical analysis for investment professionals
22 June 2015

Self-Promotion Is Key to Career Success

Sharon Ranson, Deb Brown, and Tanya van Biesen

On 14–15 October, CFA Institute will host Women in Investment Management: Access to Success in a Changing Industry, a virtual event to create better outcomes for investors and provide practical information relevant for individuals, investment teams, and those who hold leadership positions.

Diligence and hard work, keeping your nose to the grindstone, will always pay off when seeking to land your next promotion or job opportunity, right? Actually, no.

This is not to suggest that such attributes are unimportant, but they are only components of success — not the end itself. Self-promotion is key, said Sharon Ranson, founder and president of the Ranson Group, at the recent Women in Investment Management Conference. Ranson moderated a discussion titled “Promote Yourself: Raise Your Visibility and Land Your Next Opportunity,” with Deb Brown of Russell Reynolds Associates and Tanya van Biesen of Spencer Stuart.

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Self-promotion does not come as easily to women as it does to men, Ranson noted, so she created the acronym “PROMOTE” as a guide:

  • Purpose: You need to define what you want to achieve and what success looks like for you.
  • Relationships: It starts with relationships — with key decision-makers, peers, bosses, subordinates, career coaches, and others. In essence, expand your network.
  • Optimism: Have a winning attitude, and further, expect to win. This helps you handle and recover from the inevitable set backs we all experience.
  • Modus operandi: Every good idea needs a plan of action. How will you get to where you want to be?
  • Telling others: You need to tell others what you want to do or what you want to achieve. You cannot keep your dreams to yourself and expect to achieve them. You do, however, want to be strategic about whom you tell.
  • Elevate your confidence. This includes encouraging and supporting others, watching your body language, and most importantly, taking action. Confidence is gained by doing.

Brown’s best strategies for self-promotion are:

  • Attend and participate in conferences and workshops to raise your visibility.
  • Build relationships and networks.
  • Create your own personal advisory board for advice, support, and mentoring.
  • Find a unifier to engage with other like-minded people.
  • Build your own brand. You need to stand for something, so determine what that is.

Van Biesen concurred, adding that you should take on leadership roles when offered and contacting a recruiter for advice. All agreed that networking is important. The vast majority of roles are filled through both personal and professional networks. Go to networking events and build those relationships. Work to create your personal brand.

When negotiating your next position and/or salary, the panel recommended doing your research. Know what your market value is by getting information on comparable positions and salaries so you do not undersell yourself. The old adage is still true: never take the first offer.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Photo credit: W. Scott Mitchell

About the Author(s)
Susan Hoover, JD

Susan Hoover was the editor of Connexions, the CFA Society Leader newsletter, and the digital editor of Enterprising Investor at CFA Institute. Prior to CFA Institute, Hoover worked for McCallum & Kudravetz, PC, and the US Department of the Navy in real estate and labor law. Hoover earned the CFA Institute Investment Foundations™ Certificate and holds a BA degree from Lehigh University and a JD degree from the Washington College of Law, American University.

3 thoughts on “Self-Promotion Is Key to Career Success”

  1. Dr. Laurence Brody says:

    excellent and thoughtful article

  2. clarence parker says:

    a sad commentary on being human

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