Are you working and working, but feeling like you’re standing still? Do you think you’re being overlooked for new opportunities? Or struggling to get your point of view across altogether?
It sounds like you need an advocate.
An advocate is someone who publicly champions and supports others. In a work context, that person might help to enhance your reputation, get your opinions heard, and increase your chances of moving up the career ladder.
Believe it or not, your biggest advocate at work is you. When you successfully practise self-advocacy you can communicate your needs and aspirations effectively, and ultimately achieve your goals. Sounds good, right?
Well, in this article we’ll explain how you can be a better advocate for yourself.
How to be a better self-advocate
Work out what you actually want
You can’t advocate for yourself, or ask others to do so on your behalf, without a goal. So ask yourself what you want to achieve. Perhaps that’s a better work life balance, or a pay rise. Whatever it is, you need a clear path to attain that goal. Ask your manager to work with you to build an actionable and attainable plan that’ll get you to where you want to be.
Done that? Great! You’re advocating for yourself already.
Know your value
Ultimately, you’ve got your job because of the value you bring to your company. To successfully advocate for yourself, you need to identify, communicate and quantify that value. And demonstrate it in your everyday work.
Start by thinking about your strengths — these can include the skills that relate directly to your craft, and the softer human ones too. There’ll likely be some crossover with your job description, but consider your passions too, and don’t be afraid to ask the people you work closely with what they think your strengths are.
Inevitably, there’ll be some things you identify as weaknesses too. But try not to think of them as such. Instead, consider them opportunities to further your value, and make a plan to work on them.
Progression comes in really handy here. There’s hundreds of framework and skill templates available. Search your role and build out your own framework from here. Then focus in on the skills you’d like to develop by adding them as Focus Skills.
Once you’ve worked out your value, the next step is to link your contribution to results. Hard, cold results. That might be an increase in sign ups, followers or revenue. Perhaps your work reduced the number of service-related calls to your company’s contact centre, freeing up valuable time to actively go after leads. Or maybe your designs won an industry award that brought in new business.
Shout out your Wins
Don’t be shy — let the people around you know about your hard work and grow your reputation. When you deliver a large piece of work, or something you’ve done has great results, share it with your team, along with the impact it’s had. They’ll be thankful for the insight. If you don’t, how’s anyone supposed to know you’re doing a great job?
Make sure you’re always prepared for conversations around your advancement by keeping a record of your achievements. You never know when they might come in handy.
Progression makes it even easier to advocate for yourself at key career moments. Record work accomplishments by adding a Win — you can refer back to them at any time to evidence your growth.
Don’t forget to give credit where it’s due too. Advocate for others and they’ll be more likely to return the favour.
Believe in yourself
Believe it or not, one of the biggest blockers to advocating for yourself is you. Banish your self-limiting thoughts by focusing on the value you add and the contribution you make.
You’re the boss of your own career. And it’s time to start acting like it. Take control by regularly asking for feedback, and acting on it. Record your successes and work hard towards your development goals. Don’t rely on others. Own your career.
- Identify your goals
Work out what you’re advocating for
- Create an actionable plan to reach it
And don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Work out your strengths and weaknesses
This’ll help you identify your value, and areas to develop
- Record your achievements
Make a habit of recording great feedback and results — you never know when you’ll need it
- Share your hard work
Don’t be shy — let your team know about the impact you make
- Believe in yourself
Own your career with Progression — Learn more about Progression →