How Humble Bragging About Former Employers Boosts Your Brand

bragHere’s a tip rarely utilized by job seekers: the more impressive you make your former employers look on your resume, the better you look to potential new employers.

So, carefully (and truthfully) brag about your other employers! Present them as important and successful organizations, and tie your contributions directly to their success:

  • Expand the description of your previous jobs to include positive descriptions of  the companies, too.
  • In your resume, say something positive in the work history section of your resume to make the experience gained there more impressive and relevant.
  • While networking, focus on the positive or say as little as possible about a former employer if you have nothing positive to discuss.
  • In the job interview, focus on the positive — almost any intelligent positive you can find is better than saying nothing.

And remember: smart bragging is specific, quantified and verifiable.

Don’t just say Employer XYZ was a great place to work — especially if it wasn’t! Focus on quantified information (facts) that you can find online, like sales, profitability, awards, recognition, patents, size, etc. Resist the temptation to exaggerate how great the company was; instead, search for information (from a respected source) that you can quote to back up your brags. And, of course, keep copies of that source material.

For example, here is how Walmart describes themselves on their careers page:

“Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our nearly 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of approximately $473 billion, Walmart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide.”

In this example, an HR person at Walmart could say that the HR organization supported the recruitment and management of 2.2 million employees in 11,000 stores in 27 countries. Impressive!

Don’t stop at the company website, however. Google the company to discover objective information on your former employer. For example, this is what Fortune says about Walgreens in their Fortune 500 profile for 2014:

“The nation’s largest drugstore chain logged more than $72 billion in sales last year and a 15% increase in annual profit. Walgreen expanded its commercial pharmacy book by striking deals with Express Scripts and Caremark. It also launched a pharmacy-led health initiative with AmerisourceBergen, which will allow the drugstore to create a wholesale-retail model that will reduce costs and increase patient access.”

A sales person from Walgreens, in this example, could highlight the growth in sales and profits as well as the new wholesale-retail model being developed.

One more great resource: where you can find statistics and other facts about what the organization does, the size, the effectiveness, the impact, and other information that shows the organization in a good light.

Bragging about an employer isn’t always easy, especially when the experience didn’t end well.

For example, I once worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. DEC laid me off in 1994, on their way to disappearing.

But, the year I left DEC, it was No. 29 on the FORTUNE 500 list and the second largest company in the computer industry at the time, employing over 120,000 people in more than 15 countries. So, when I worked there, DEC was a large, very successful, multinational technology company. That is worth bragging about, no matter how I ended up leaving the company!

Of course, the old saying applies here: “if you really can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” So work hard to find good things to say… and start bragging about your former employers!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends a Work Coach Cafe!




Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching 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; Susan has been editor and publisher since. Susan also edits and publishes Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .


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