Spend enough time on the job market and you’ll find that it’s difficult to stand out without a little bravado. Unfortunately for introverted job seekers, we don’t live in a meritocracy, and listing your duties without highlighting your biggest successes isn’t going to get a hiring manager to pay attention. After all, you can’t just be a genius at something and expect people to take notice – you have to shout it from the rooftops!
If you’re like this writer, raised by mild-mannered Midwestern parents, you might find boasting about your talents uncomfortable (or even mortifying), and that reluctance could be setting you back.
So how can you get used to bragging without feeling, well… a little tacky?
Ask a friend for help
Honestly, you may not even be able to identify your biggest strengths, and this is where a trusted friend or former colleague can come in very handy. Ask specific questions – “What can you always rely on me for? In what fields do you think I excel?” – and listen carefully to their answers. Take notes! It’s important information to know about yourself.
Take credit for your successes
There’s a time for teamwork and spreading the love, but it’s not when you’re building your resume. Did you implement a plan that increased social media traffic by 400 percent? Say so. Did you get a sales award for pushing the most company credit cards in 2013? Write it down. Don’t downplay your part in a successful project for the sake of modesty. Modesty makes for a bland resume.
Suck it up and brag
You don’t need to exaggerate because – alas! – you’re probably not literally an “Excel wizard”, but quantifying your successes in sensible terms is no ugly trait. Don’t mistake confidence for arrogance – if you’re not willing to brag about yourself on a job application, then who will?
At the end of the day, the key to good bragging is context – and you may never get a better excuse to "toot your own horn" than in an interview with your dream employer.