We live our lives focused around our highlight reel. Our Instagrams only show us #LivingOurBestLife. We love to share who we're with, what we're eating for dinner and what awesome vacation we're on. Facebook is laden with our opinions, our engagements and our babies. At it's very core, we are really just bragging about ourselves. All day, every day.*
So why is it so hard to brag about yourself when it comes to your career? Why is THAT highlight reel so hard to curate?
Often times, I'll hop on the phone with a client and ask them what they are proud of in their career and they can't put it into words. Maybe you're the same? Maybe you don't spend time thinking about how you are providing value, how your work is impacting the business or why you ended up on the career trajectory you're on? Maybe you're unsure if your work even matters? And maybe you're a little nervous that your potential next employer will find out you are actually a fake and not as accomplished as you make yourself out to be. Well, you know what I have to say about that?
Get over it. And brag a little.
I could care less about your elaborate vacations documented to perfection, but I do care about your career. This is the one time I'm going to tell you it is 10,000% okay to be confident in your capabilities and accomplishments and brag about yourself. On your resume. On your LinkedIn. While you're networking. At an interview. Brag. It. Up. Because if you won't, who will?
No one, That's who.
Side note: Now, I'm not condoning arrogance. There is a fine line between confidence and factually stating your capabilities and well, being a butt. I expect as an adult in the working world, you know the difference.
The biggest problem people have when talking about themselves is they don't know what to talk about! How do you know what someone will care about? What is actually valuable and marketable? You know you've worked hard, but what specifically have you done that's important enough to brag about?
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to "uncover" your accomplishments:
What did your manager (positively) bring up in your performance review?
What big project did you work on that affected and impacted multiple departments?
Did you mentor or train a team? What about leading a team?
Did you build a program or product from the ground up?
What about becoming a subject matter expert in your line of work?
How are you evaluated? Did you exceed expectations?
What is the one thing you want someone to know about you, should they only have 20 seconds to read your resume?
Did you work on any projects that have name brands associated with them?
Did you give a big presentation that ended up landing the company business, driving revenue?
What about creating efficiencies or launching a new process document?
There are SO many things you are doing in your job on a day-to-day basis, I realize it's hard to discern what's important to share. The real problem though is that people wait to the last minute to really digest what they've done in their career. Don't be that person!
First of all, you should be keeping a career notebook. In it, you should have details about your network, your likes and dislikes in your job and your accomplishments. I would revisit this notebook once a quarter, set aside an hour and just relive the big projects you've worked on. That way, when it comes time to update your resume or a recruiter reaches out, you have a clear understanding of what you've accomplished and what you're most proud of.
And go ahead, brag about yourself.
*(And if we're really honest with ourselves it comes from some deep insecurity to make ourselves feel better and other people jealous. That sounds harsh, but you know it's true.)