When we listen to someone’s inspirational speech about success, we remember two important things. First, does this story have evidence? People tend to trust more verifiable statements – at least in theory. Second point: the culture of communication prescribes us to be modest and wary of those who violate this prescription. As soon as it seems to us that the speaker is too boastful or lying, trust will be lost.
Those looking to get a job simply need to present themselves in the best light to the employer and learn to balance between self-presentation and bragging. But first of all, they have to overcome shyness and modesty, for which their parents praised so much in childhood.
Self-presentation: Why is it hard to praise yourself?
You need to be able to praise and appreciate yourself. If a person was not taught this in childhood, then work will only exacerbate the problems. In some companies, the success of subordinates is automatically attributed to management, in others they are not used to encouraging good ideas and successful projects, in others, managers do not know how to praise employees. Even if a person works for himself and does not need to fit into corporate standards, he has to constantly talk about his talents and advantages.
In addition to natural modesty, other character traits also affect the ability to clearly tell about oneself. Psychologists often talk about the “impostor syndrome” – a phenomenon when a person explains his successes and achievements not by his own work and abilities, but by external reasons. Such an employee is convinced that he happened to be in his place by chance, that he is an impostor who can be exposed at any moment. He constantly waits for colleagues to discover his incompetence, and thinks that he is deceiving everyone around him. Sometimes the “impostor” admits the results of his activities, but believes that they do not deserve attention: he devalues his successes and is sure that anyone in his place would cope with such tasks.
The term “impostor syndrome” was coined by scientists Paolin Klance and Susan Ames in the late 70s. They noticed this feature in some successful women: having achieved professional recognition and taking a position in society, these women believed that others overestimate them. Twenty years later, psychologists David Dunning and Justin Krueger from Cornell University in the USA noticed a similar effect. They found that incompetent professionals tend to exaggerate their abilities, while competent ones, on the contrary, often belittle their merits. This behavior is easy to explain: specialists with low qualifications often do not notice their own mistakes and cannot assess the depth of their incompetence. But during the interview, such specialists hold themselves more confidently than those who soberly assess their knowledge and are afraid to overpraise themselves.
However, you can talk about your achievements in such a way that neither the employer nor the candidate himself will seem bragging.
From problem to solution
Facts and details are needed to make a story look impressive. Numbers will tell you the best about you: some candidates bring a folder with printouts of graphs to the interview and make a real presentation.
It is better to talk about the results from a business point of view: how what you did influence the profit, the work of the company, the achievement of the goals that it faced. In a word, you need to express the result in some measurable indicator. Usually, this is money (if thanks to you the company managed to earn or save) or time (if, for example, you improved some work processes so that they began to take significantly less time).
It’s better to think about what you can call your main successes in advance. You will probably hear at the interview the request: “What are your main achievements?” Prepare in advance to tell about something brightest.
If it is easy for a sales manager to formulate his records (the number of transactions concluded over a certain period of time, their amount), then it is much more difficult to prove that under your leadership, for example, in the accounting department, work has been successfully established. In such cases, it is better to build the story according to a clear plan: from problem to solution. The points:
- What problem or task needed to be solved?
- What funds did you have?
- What solution did you choose, what idea did you come up with?
- What obstacles were there?
- What result did you get?
Such a story will not seem like empty self-promotion, and at the interview, there will be a reason to show off your professional knowledge.
When talking about successes, do not forget to mention those who helped you: you will come across as someone who values colleagues and knows how to work in a team. And, of course, you shouldn’t exaggerate your contribution if you worked on a project collectively. The world is small: a potential employer can contact your former colleagues and find out what part of the work you did personally, whether you brought your own ideas to the project or implemented others.
Praise, but not praise
A few more tips from psychologists – how to praise yourself, but not make a negative impression on the interlocutor.
- People trust statements rather than comparisons. It is better to say “I am good” than “I am better than others.”
- “False modesty” annoys people more than outright bragging. Therefore, neutral answers work better than comic ones. By jokes, we mean statements like, “This is my third interview today, and I’m tired of talking about my successes. But what can you do if there are so many of them! “
- When a boastful remark is in place, it doesn’t seem so immodest. An event planner can easily jump from polite talking about the weather to telling how he saved an open-air party that was hit by a downpour: “Exactly like outside the window now!” The main thing is that the employer does not notice that you changed the subject too quickly.
In a resume, it is also important to be able to praise yourself correctly. If there are professional awards, it is easy to list them and support them with links to certificates, and in other cases, you need to show your performance in numbers. When articulating your strengths, it’s best to avoid boring patterns.
For those who find it difficult to formulate their achievements on paper, the experts of the Ready Resume service will help; They will conduct an interview with you and, based on its results, create a resume that takes into account the requirements of employers and emphasizes your best sides.