Education Career Services

December 1, 2009

Toot Your Own Horn: The Key to Success

Submitted by Victoria Andrew,
Professional Writer at Education Career Services

It often takes many years for job seekers to come into realization of how self-promotion catalyzes career success.  We are not referring to flamboyant self-promotion that could potentially hinder a career, but of the meticulously planned self-advocacy that optimizes achievements and promotions.  Even if we were of the top 1% who are serendipitous enough to have someone high enough on the corporate food chain to act as a champion on our behalf, they could never accurately articulate our accomplishments.  Ultimately, we are forced to face the reality that self-promotion is something we must do for ourselves.

People often spend several years of their career with their noses down, never once being truly noticed and validated despite pursuing their job with superior performance.  We hear over and over again that networking is essential to any successful job search, and you must aggressively pursue your own leads.  Yet, there is a critical component to networking, securing promotions, and/or negotiating a raise that is often overlooked: mastering the art of self-promotion. If you’re not confident in claiming your achievements and promoting yourself, it will be impossible to advance in your career.  Thus, we suggest that you toot your own horn, and honk it proudly!

The average job seeker tends to articulate only responsibilities rather than proactive, exciting achievements.  They monotonously rehash previous job descriptions instead of boasting about accomplishments in resumes, cover letters, networking events, and interviews.  We think we may be following standard procedures and will be liked for appearing obsequious and self-effacing.  

Wrong! You will discover humility is counterproductive and not helping you land the position, raise, or promotion we deserve.

In order for self-confidence to strengthened, engage in a fearless self-assessment to explore achievements, passions, strengths, and talents.  Consider pursuing psychometric testing to uncover your ideal career and personality type.  Sharpening self-knowledge empowers you to speak with authority about what you have to contribute.

Your resume is also a marketing tool and powerful opportunity to transform job responsibilities into engaging accomplishments to help you more effectively compete in today’s marketplace.  By making every bullet a reflection of successes that can be quantified or qualified, you will convey the many assets you have to bring to a company more powerfully. 

Job searching is all about sales: the product you are marketing is you!

Furthermore, the art of self-promotion is catalyzed by crafting a value proposition that succinctly and powerfully crystallizes what you have to offer a company.  It is a powerful marketing strategy. Once you know exactly what you are selling – and why you are such an extraordinary product – practice saying it over and over.  When you’re in networking and interview situations, you’ll want to be able to astutely and clearly convey you’re greatest strengths.

The most important issue is to realize you’ve earned the right to celebrate accomplishments.  Many times when something fantastic happens to us, we question ourselves as to whether or not we deserve it.  Let us not be possessed by such a trivial concern as whether or not we are being considered obnoxious or egotistical.  Don’t worry if someone responds to your confidence with, “Man, does she have balls!”  Such a concern is a waste of time.

The most successful career professionals are the ones who have transcended fears.  They’re not afraid to tell everyone who will listen how great they are.  Quite frankly, we should applaud them.  If you don’t toot your horn, nobody else will do it for you.  

Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. You’ve earned it. Toot! Toot!

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110



  1. Another great submission. Keep up the work!

    Comment by Samual — December 1, 2009 @ 4:54 am

  2. Really good stuff and it is very beneficial for job seekers. Carry on your good work!
    New Job Advice

    Comment by Evan Roey — December 3, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

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