Hype your boss. A senior executive asks you, “So what do you think of your boss?” Start with a positive comment, even if you’re tempted to criticize. Here’s why: After finding something to praise, you can gauge how the questioner reacts. If the exec seems eager to hear only good news, trashing your boss makes you look bad. But if you’re pressed for more pointed feedback, be honest—but tactful.
Propose winning ideas. Present your recommendations as an outgrowth of your group’s most successful ideas. By recognizing previous wins, you place your idea in the right context and honor your predecessors.
Prepare a preappraisal status report. Before your next , draft a memo to your boss of all the projects you’ve completed since your last one, along with measurable results. Highlight the tasks you initiated. Also list current projects with a timetable. Don’t assume your boss tracks everything you do—make it easy by summarizing.
Make your résumé work. Stick to work-related triumphs on your résumé. Don’t list your volunteer activities in detail. If you overemphasize your charitable efforts, recruiters may conclude they’ll cut into company time. Only include “pro bono” work if you can tie it to a skill that relates to the job.
Smooth networking. When a friend refers you to a business contact, introduce yourself by saying, “Chris Jones suggested I call you because …” Don’t just say, “Chris Jones gave me your name.” Avoid the awkward silence by seamlessly explaining the purpose of your call.