Career Development: Are You Bragging or Self Promoting?

When it comes to self promotion, there seem to be about three groups of people:

1. No self promotion.  They either feel that the work speaks for itself or that self promotion is bragging.
2. Mindless bragging.  They give no thought to what they are saying or how it affects them or others; more than likely highly competitive, but low self esteem.
3. Effective self promotion. They communicate effectively with the organization, keeping key players and group up to date on activities and results; clear picture of personal branding and folds in those ideas when possible.

Often times when we’re with a mindless bragger we think that because they are doing all of that boastful chatter that they must be perceived as a real winner.  Bragging really isn’t that effective.  Sure, some of it may do some good to help that person get ahead, but generally most people don’t care to listen to that sort of thing very long.

You can self promote without coming across as a bragging jerk.  Also, people are attracted to others who are confident about themselves, which means asserting your personal brand making self promotion a good thing to do.  Let’s detail out some of the things you can do to self promote while avoiding being a bragger:

Look for opportunities.  You can easily update your boss and peers in the hallway, staff meeting or even by writing status reports.  Look for ways to let people know what you’re up to.

Stay modest.   One of the obvious characteristics of being a bragger is a sense of arrogance.  One of the biggest signs is using “I” way too much.  If you’re concerned you could be viewed as bragging, adopt a tactic of using “we” when you speak of accomplishments when at all possible.

Stay balanced.   Part of the reason we dislike braggers is they drone on way too much about how wonderful they are or details about something they did.  Keep your comments brief and everyone will appreciate it.  You can be very impactful with just a couple of well thought out sentences.

Use well-placed words.   All it takes sometimes is one word.  When you have a clear image of your personal branding, one well placed word injected in what you’re saying will reinforce or extend your brand.  Here is an example: “I champion and recruit talent.”  Notice the word champion.  It completely enriches what you know about that person.

Keep to the facts.   When what you are saying is simple, straight forward information, it isn’t bragging, nor will it be perceived that way.

Communicate your accomplishments.  You are the only one who really knows.   When we think our work speaks for itself, what we are doing is hoping someone will notice.  Hoping isn’t a good strategy for career growth.  You are the only one who truly knows what you’ve done, which means it must be you who communicates the information about your accomplishments.

Keep people in the loop.   It is good for you both.  Other people will benefit by knowing about what you’ve done or can do.  You are a resource and you can help people understand what you can do for them or with them.

Self promotion is vital for your career growth; and doing great self promotion is as much about how to do it well as it is about having the right perspective on doing it.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a certified life and career coach. She works with aspiring professionals who are looking for career growth, advancement and entry into the “C” suite. As well, she works with people to overcome the sometimes daunting task of changing careers. With over 21 years in management, Dorothy has coached, trained and guided other professionals who have gone on to impressive and fulfilling careers. Her personal philosophy about careers is: “It’s not JUST a job; it’s half your life – so love your career”. You can check out her resources, blog and services at Next Chapter New Life and MBA Highway.

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