Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Sell Yourself Without Bragging

I attended my niece's 8th grade graduation this week. She goes to a small school, only 15 kids in her graduating class, so each student gives a 3 to 5 minute speech at graduation. Some of the kids were sweet and shy, some funny.

However, one student stood out with the way he spoke of himself. I believe he used terms such as "smartest kid my baseball coach ever met," "stellar athlete," and "handsome young man" to describe himself. His speech made me wonder, at what point do we cross the line into bragging and arrogance.

If you follow my blogs, you know I am a proponent of selling yourself - both in the resume and the interview.  However, if you come across as bragging or arrogant, you will turn off most all employers. Here are some tips to help you sell yourself without sounding like a jerk!

  • Try to be confident as opposed to cocky. Arrogant and cocky people can not admit their flaws - they don't think they have any! Self-confident people can admit their weaknesses and demonstrate that they now how to compensate for and overcome them.
  • Limit your use of the word "I" in your conversation. Instead of saying "I am the best computer programmer my company ever had." try "My previous supervisor consistently complimented me on my creativity and resourcefulness in computer programming. He once told me I had some of the best programming skills he had ever seen."
  • Stick to "just the facts." Bragging turns into selling yourself in the job search when you can back up your assertions with statistics, numbers, and examples. 
  • Be willing to give others credit and offer up compliments freely. Arrogant people often come across as thinking they are better than others. By sincerely complimenting those around you, giving credit where it is due, and being willing to take the focus off you once in a while, you come across as confident and a team player.

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