Finding a middle ground between bragging and self-promotion can be challenging. While you don't want to seem like an egomaniac, you do want your achievements to be seen as something you're proud of. Especially when interview questions focus on your biggest accomplishments, the line between bragging and being authentic is very thin. Your tone and how you phrase your accomplishments are very important. Listed below are four steps to help you craft a compelling story around your self-promotion.
1. What are you promoting?
When you get too excited about your accomplishments, it is easy to veer off your main topic. Losing sight of what you're trying to promote can come across as arrogant, however. Consider who will benefit from what you’re sharing. In the case of an idea you had that helped a group, focus on the main goal of the group, not your specific accomplishment. Make your contribution a selling point for the company, and how you can use your skills to help it grow. Self-promotion when done right is backed up with facts and references that can confirm what you shared, whereas bragging is not.
2. Focus on “We” statements not “I”
In "I" statements, bragging often rears its ugly head. Many accomplishments are made possible by the collaboration of others. It's okay to mention your own contributions to the company, as long as you aren't dismissing others' contributions. So instead of saying "This campaign wouldn’t have been possible without me," you could say "My team and I built this campaign together." It's a good idea to remember what you did, what the team did, and how both efforts benefited the company.
3. Tell a story
Sharing your accomplishments in the form of a story is a simple way to avoid bragging altogether. Noting your struggles along the way can help you build up to your accomplishment. It always helps to add a little humor if you feel that it's too stiff and scripted. You can craft it in the form of an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is a brief description of a concept that takes the listener through the idea in a short period of time. Another tip is to practice with someone you trust, so they can give you honest, constructive feedback.
4. Get yourself a hype man
At conferences and networking events, a hype man can be very helpful. You can sit back, listen, and nod as they brag about you. The same goes for them. You can also ask a coworker to add a reference to your online profiles. Keep in mind that you need to ensure that your reference needs to be able to verify your skills and experience on a project you worked on together.
It's not easy to promote yourself. It can be challenging to find the right balance between listing your accomplishments and bragging a little. Make your self-promotion elevator pitch more effective by following these four tips.