How To Speak About Your Accomplishments Without 'Bragging'

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Imagine you’re in an elevator with your dream employer. You have precious few seconds to sell yourself to them before the elevator doors open and your chance is gone. Could you do it? According to a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn, 1 in 6 said no.

The survey highlighted a roadblock many Canadians (and professionals around the world) face in their work; talking about their accomplishments. The survey points out that only 29% of Canadians feel comfortable talking about their achievements at work. While the statistics may seem like stereotypically humble Canadians, these numbers reflect the general global consensus.

So why is it that professionals feel uncomfortable speaking about their achievements? The same survey shows that most feel perfectly able to speak about co-workers’ achievements, so it’s not a problem of recognizing where credit is due. Apparently over half of us (53%) feel that speaking of our own work in such a positive way feels like bragging.

Regardless of how it might make you feel, selling yourself, your skills and your work is essential in the professional world. During the job search, you rarely get the opportunity to show what you can do as well as explain what you can do, so you had better practice the sale. So the question becomes, how can I sell my accomplishments without boasting? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Be visible. Put yourself out there at work and at volunteer events. When you are seen more and more out there doing the work, it becomes difficult to disassociate you from the work and thus you’ll have more opportunities to discuss that work.
  2. Let others help. Get recommendations and references that can speak to your abilities and specific examples of your success. It will break the ice for you to then comment on those accomplishments.
  3. Be vocal. This will be the hardest part for many people as it puts you outside of your comfort zone. But it doesn’t have to be you making an announcement of your latest success. Being more involved in the work conversation will allow more opportunities to speak about your own work. Share thoughts and ideas on projects and gradually begin showing your own work. In time it will feel much more natural to show off the accomplishments.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you become more comfortable with the idea of selling your successes. And as always, practice makes perfect. Try out that elevator pitch with your friends and work on it until it’s concise and effective. Their your skills and their nothing you need to hide.

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