Career Accomplishments: How to Smart Brag Your Way to That Next Gig

career accomplishmentsSmart bragging is a requirement for job search success today. Unfortunately, many of us are not comfortable bragging about our career accomplishments. Bragging is not polite or smart, right?

Boasting about our accomplishments makes us look needy, clueless, insecure or otherwise inadequate. We look like we’re missing the important personality trait known as modesty. When we point out our accomplishments, we are demonstrating “bad manners.”

Bad manners? Really? Perhaps in a conversation, but maybe not then either. 

Especially if that conversation is a job interview…

Empty Claims Are Useless

Mind-reading is really NOT a widely-held expertise, although this seems to be an assumption many people hold, if their LinkedIn Profiles are an example. Particularly when recruiters are in a hurry (always!), they don’t have time to read your LinkedIn Profile to determine what you mean when you describe yourself vaguely.

While these terms are popular, they are empty claims without descriptions of the career accomplishments behind these phrases:

  • Good communicator
  • Track record of success
  • Strategic skills
  • Solutions to complex customer challenges
  • Excellent customer relationship skills
  • Dynamic leader
  • Expert in project management

Simply adding the adjective “proven” in front of each of those terms does not, in fact, prove anything without the facts to back them up. So, prove your claims of a “track record of success” or “expert in project management” (or whatever) by providing your related career accomplishments.

5 Reasons Making Your Career Accomplishments Visible Is Smart

So, time to get over being modest. Regardless of age or career stage, documenting your career accomplishments online and in job interviews achieves the following:

  • Increase Your Credibility | Too many people describe themselves as “good communicators” with “proven track record” leading teams or completing successful projects. However, when no proof is provided, those claims are only words.
  • Differentiate Yourself from Competitors | In my LinkedIn network, nearly 600,000 people describe themselves as “administrative assistants,” but the real work done by these people varies widely, and without accomplishments listed, figuring out who would be the best person for a specific job is difficult.
  • Support Your Personal Brand | A personal brand claimed by someone is more believable when the person describes accomplishments that demonstrate the brand is appropriate.
  • Enhance Your Personal Marketing | Making accomplishments visible on LinkedIn and other professional social media attracts both potential job opportunities and possible clients / customers.
  • Increase Your Personal SEO | Describing accomplishments, from degrees, training, and certifications to finished projects, successful events planned, and employee-of-the-month awards, provide the important keywords that make people visible in LinkedIn and Google searches.

So, sharing your career accomplishments in social media is a necessity now. The people who might hire you will have no other way to learn about them. And, no one will have the time or inclination to divine your accomplishments from a list of generalizations in your resume and LinkedIn Profile.

Your Career Accomplishments Build Your “Social Proof” Online

Making your career accomplishments visible online, where Google can find and index them, is essential today. This is known as “social proof” and having visible and find-able social proof is often the difference between receiving an interview invitation and having no response to a job application.

With an average of 250 applicants for every job posted online, competition for jobs is high. As a result, recruiters have turned to Google, LinkedIn, and other social media to “screen” applicants.

As a result, online visibility is a requirement for your job search and career today. According to a recent survey, 60% of employers search for information about job applicants. And, although information is often found that disqualifies candidates, they are seeking information that supports the candidate — that demonstrates that the candidate is qualified for the job — rather than eliminates the candidate.

A recent Society of Human Resource Management survey showed that 82% of recruiters leverage social media to find job candidates. When you have made your accomplishments clear and visible online, you are likely to be approached by a recruiter. Your next job may find you!

Your Career Accomplishments Make Your Job Interviews More Successful

In a job interview, follow up on these terms with your “stories” demonstrating that you actually have the skills you are claiming. Make the stories short — less than 2 or 3 minutes — but clearly connecting the dots between your claim and your career accomplishment describing why you can make that claim.

Be sure that the accomplishments you describe in your job interview align with the career accomplishments you have included in your LinkedIn Profile and other online visibility.

Confidential information from a current or previous employer must be protected. That doesn’t mean that important, relevant information cannot be shared. Simply refrain from sharing any “trade secrets” of another employer. Such sharing doesn’t make you look trustworthy, and it could get you into trouble with that previous employer.

Bottom Line

Today, with millions of online profiles on LinkedIn and over a billion on Facebook, we need to be clear. When everyone is in a hurry, thoughtful “bragging” about career accomplishments is a very important thing to do, particularly on LinkedIn where recruiters and employers are searching (relentlessly!) for qualified job candidates.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at 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 online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps . She is also a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Susan has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.



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