Bragging – it’s just so negative, right? Right?! Wrong.
All your life, I’m sure you’ve heard that bragging is detrimental to your character, reputation and self-image. We’ve all met that girl who just can’t shut up about herself – and – we’ve all met that guy who can’t shut up about high school. It’s obnoxious and occasionally disrespectful.
Bragging doesn’t have to be negative, though. In fact, under correct circumstances, bragging becomes a talent perfected through practice.
- “A job well done speaks for itself.” — This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes, it’s important you execute, but you must also learn to talk about how good of a job you did. Details matter. Note your difficulties, successes and final results. Write them down. Remember them. You’ll thank me later.
- “Humility gets you noticed.” — Humility is an important character trait, but it will never get your work noticed. Remember, jobs don’t speak for themselves, and if you don’t take credit for your work, someone else will. I’m not being a cynic. I’m being honest.
- “If I brag about others, they’ll brag about me.” — Don’t count on it. (Most) people are selfish … especially when it comes to their careers. This isn’t necessarily bad. You just need to be aware of it.
Where can you brag?
Brag in the office. Always be ready to introduce yourself. Assuming someone knows you is a quick way to miss opportunities to connect. Lunch is never just lunch; it’s a networking opportunity. Make your conversations worthwhile as networking is more than putting contacts in your rolodex. Look to connect with your co-workers and build relationships.
Maybe this is obvious … but job interviews are the perfect opportunity for you to be bragging. Do your homework on the company. Use this information to relate to the recruiter. Tie your awesome experiences with their world. Know your strong points, and forget the age-old wisdom of, “Turn your weaknesses into strengths.” Seriously. Don’t do that. Employers aren’t stupid…they’ll see right through it. And if they don’t, do you really want to work for a company that lets you bullshit like that?
Take your bragging to the streets. You should always be ready to give someone your personal elevator pitch. I’m not advocating you engage others with the sole intention of telling them about yourself, but when the opportunity presents itself – and it will – be ready.
Takeaway: no matter where you are, opportunities will be presented to you. Be ready.
Things your mother may (not) have told you
Bore no more. Keep it short and interesting. Do you enjoy talking to robots? I don’t, either. Your personality matters, so let it shine! Keep things personal, and stay upbeat. If you aren’t conveying excitement about whatever it is you do, you’re doing it wrong. Even if you don’t necessarily like your current work, pick the one or two things you do like about it, and learn to love them. Yes, you read me right. Love them. Your enthusiasm will radiate. Energy, positive or negative, is contagious. So, before you start complaining to that stranger in the elevator, think twice. Don’t forget it.
Schmooze. Contrary to popular belief (and Webster), this isn’t brown-nosing. This is the ability to talk and make friends with most anyone. Use humor, stories, and anecdotes. No sense of humor? It may seem counterintuitive, but pick up some creative fiction books and start reading. “But reading is borrrrring.” If you really believe that, you’ve never given reading a chance. No excuses.
Yes, I know … the dictionary says I’m wrong. Bragging is annoying. Schmoozing is manipulation. Well, in my not so humble opinion – but stunningly accurate assessment 😉 – the dictionary won’t get you a job. With a little brag-speak and well-timed schmoozing, you may just land yourself with a new 9 to 5. Now, get out there and brag, dammit.