TAO Self-help

Title:Smart Bragging Wins Your Next Job

Author:Susan P. Joyce, © 2017 All rights reserved

Date:April 2017


Smart bragging is a requirement for job search success today. Unfortunately, many of us are not comfortable bragging about our accomplishments. We have been taught that bragging is not polite or smart.

Boasting about our accomplishments makes us look needy, clueless, insecure or otherwise inadequate, missing the important personality trait known as modesty. When we point out our accomplishments, we are demonstrating "bad manners."

Bad manners? Really? Perhaps in a conversation, but maybe not then either, if that conversation is a job interview...

Empty Claims Are Useless

Mind-reading is really NOT a widely-held expertise, although this seems to be an assumption many people hold, if their LinkedIn Profiles are an example. Particularly when recruiters are in a hurry (always!), they don't have time to read your LinkedIn Profile to determine what you mean when you describe yourself vaguely.

While these terms are popular, they are empty claims without descriptions of the accomplishments behind these phrases:

  • Good communicator
  • Track record of success
  • Strategic skills
  • Solutions to complex customer challenges
  • Excellent customer relationship skills
  • Dynamic leader
  • Expert in project management

Simply adding the adjective "proven" in front of each of those terms does not, in fact, prove anything without the facts to back them up. So, prove your claims of a "track record of success" or "expert in project management" (or whatever) by providing your related accomplishments.

5 Reasons Making Your Accomplishments Visible Is Smart

So, time to get over being modest. Regardless of age or career stage, documenting your accomplishments online and in job interviews achieves the following:

  1. Increase Your Credibility

    Too many people describe themselves as "good communicators" with "proven track record" leading teams or completing successful projects. However, when no proof is provided, those claims are only words.

  2. Differentiate Yourself from Competitors

    In my LinkedIn network, nearly 600,000 people describe themselves as "administrative assistants," but the real work done by these people varies widely, and without accomplishments listed, figuring out who would be the best person for a specific job is difficult.

  3. Support Your Personal Brand

    A personal brand claimed by someone is more believable when the person describes accomplishments that demonstrate the brand is appropriate.

  4. Enhance Your Personal Marketing

    Making accomplishments visible on LinkedIn and other professional social media attracts both potential job opportunities and possible clients / customers.

  5. Increase Your Personal SEO

    Describing accomplishments, from degrees, training, and certifications to finished projects, successful events planned, and employee-of-the-month awards, provide the important keywords that make people visible in LinkedIn and Google searches.

So, sharing your accomplishments in social media is a necessity now. The people who might hire you will have no other way to learn about them. And, no one will have the time or inclination to divine your accomplishments from a list of generalizations in your resume and LinkedIn Profile.

Your Accomplishments Build Your "Social Proof" Online

Making your accomplishments visible online, where Google can find and index them, is essential today. This is known as "social proof" and having visible and find-able social proof is often the difference between receiving an interview invitation and having no response to a job application.

With an average of 250 applicants for every job posted online, competition for jobs is high. As a result, recruiters have turned to Google, LinkedIn, and other social media to "screen" applicants (for their job postings) and to find qualified candidates (rather than posting jobs).

As a result, online visibility is a requirement for your job search and career today. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 60% of employers search for information about job applicants. And, although information is often found that disqualifies candidates, they are seeking information that supports the candidate — that demonstrates that the candidate is qualified for the job — rather than eliminates the candidate.

A recent Society of Human Resource Management survey showed that 82% of recruiters leverage social media to find job candidates. When you have made your accomplishments clear and visible online, you are likely to be approached by a recruiter. Your next job may find you!

Your Accomplishments Make Your Job Interviews More Successful

In a job interview, follow up on these terms with your "stories" demonstrating that you actually have the skills you are claiming. Make the stories short — less than 2 or 3 minutes — but clearly connecting the dots between your claim and your accomplishment describing why you can make that claim.

Be sure that the accomplishments you describe in your job interview align with the accomplishments you have included in your LinkedIn Profile and other online visibility.

Confidential information from a current or previous employer must be protected, but that doesn't mean that important, relevant information cannot be shared. Simply refrain from sharing any "trade secrets" of another employer. Such sharing doesn't make you look trustworthy, and it could get you into trouble with that previous employer.

Bottom Line

Today, with hundreds of millions of online profiles visible on LinkedIn and over a billion visible on Facebook, we need to make our accomplishments clear. When everyone is in a hurry, thoughtful "bragging" about accomplishments is a very important thing to do, particularly on LinkedIn where recruiters and employers are searching (relentlessly!) for qualified job candidates.


More About Successful Job Search Tactics

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, and Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.

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