How to show off without showing off


How to show off (without coming across as a total show off) in five easy steps

Young. Exciting. Ambitious. That’s enough about us, now let’s hear about you. Because we want to hear about you. And potential employers need to hear about you. And if you don’t tell them what’s great, different and fabulous about you, they simply won’t know.

Surprisingly few people are actually good at talking about themselves. Agreed, there’s a few natural show offs out there with the gift of the gab, who could talk their way out of a paper bag and sell snow  to the Eskimos. These people, rightly or wrongly, may sometimes come across as cocky, arrogant and self centred – which is quite obviously not a good thing.

At the other end of the scale sit people who are totally embarrassed blowing their own trumpet, are self-depricating and find it impossible to receive a compliment without blushing.

And in the middle, sit most of us. Able to mention a few strengths, can remember a few good things we’ve done, but largely feel fairly uncomfortable saying we’re great at anything, let alone the best.

Well if you want to stand out in today’s competitive market, that needs to change. After all, according to High Fliers Research, the country’s top employers have received 13% more graduate job applications this year compared to last and a third of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations. So if you’re not in this category, your CV and online profiles will need to work super-hard.

No idea where to start? Here’s some tips to get you started.

1.       Think about your aspirations. Your hopes and dreams, ideal job and how you wish to change the world. It may sound dramatic, but if your mindset is positive and full of passion and ambition this is how you’ll come across. And write this all down first and approach it with a structure;

  • What would you love to do?
  • What skills and qualities are needed?
  • How can you demonstrate and convey that you have what’s required.

2.       Think about where you are now. What are you doing in your course, through extracurricular activities, within any holiday work, or through work experience that is developing you as a person? List the skills you are learning, the personal attributes you are developing, the experience you are gaining and the knowledge you are building.

3.       Explore your achievements. What fabulous things have you done? Tangible, evidence based achievements and accolades, however small may make you stand out from the rest. Have you won awards and prizes? Published papers? Run a successful event? Led a sports team? Won trophies in an activity? Made an impact through volunteer work? List them all.

4.       Showing off in a way that works is all about the evidence. Your ability to underpin points 1-3 with examples, and just as crucially, demonstrate the positive impact you’ll have on a company once they hire you. Led a sports team? Great – what did you learn, what skills did you demonstrate and what victories did the team enjoy as a result? Worked on a university website as a volunteer? Fantastic! How has this improved your understanding of marketing, did it result in positive feedback, how will these skills benefit a future employer? No one can accuse you of empty claims or unjustified self promotion if everything you say is backed up with evidence and examples. It makes for much more interesting reading too.

5.       Think about your tone and your language. Keep positive and descriptive but try to avoid clichés and overly grand claims. In your profile speak informally as if you are telling someone about yourself, not writing a formal letter. Sound confident and assertive but not overly clever or quirky.

‘I was the best team rugby player the college had ever had’. Ooh get you! Try, ‘When I was the college rugby captain, I received positive feedback from my team and increased our wins from 40-60%. This has greatly increased my confidence and shown my ability to manage and inspire others, which I would hope to bring to my career so that I can bring out the best in the people around me’.

‘I always think outside the box’. Really, always? Try instead, ‘On my field trip I came up with a different way to look for specimens. This led to improved results and showed my ability to think creatively and proactively try different approaches’’.  I would always try to bring this attitude to projects so that we can get the best possible results.

So no, don’t become the incorrigible show-off. But showcase your skills, achievements, qualities and experience in a quietly confident, positive and engaging manner. Get started on your mybrink profile now.

From the mybrink team, good luck!