How To: Brag (Tastefully and Gracefully, of course!)

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

How To: Brag (Tastefully and Gracefully, of course!)

This blog is written by Kristi Atkinson, our Campus Ambassador for the University of Idaho. Kristi is an International Studies, Public Relations and Spanish major and held a PR internship with an environmental institute this past summer.

Last week, I received an important phone call regarding an open position on my university’s student government. The application deadline was in three hours and so far they hadn’t found anyone they liked for the position. A rep called me after hearing about my summer internships and thought I would be a perfect fit.

Why did the rep think I would be a perfect fit? Because I learned to gracefully and tastefully brag about my achievements.

No one likes a show-off, but you’re going to need to let at least some people know what you&re capable of to get a head in life. If you do great work and no one knows about it, then why did you do it?

I read a quote online the other day, which inspired this blog post: “Good self-promoters know this: They’re always planting seeds for the future.”

Bragging can produce many benefits in life; a resume only goes so far to convey your achievements to a potential employer. Not only will bragging modestly about yourself get a potential employer attracted to you, but also help him or her learn more about you, and shows that you have a great self-esteem. Bragging is an art, an individual form of self-expression, and communication that is the key to opening doors.

First, let’s debunk a few myths: A job well does NOT speaks for it self. Humility does NOT get you noticed. People will NOT brag for you.

There is still a fine line between good bragging and arrogant bragging. Here are a few tips I found online:

You need to self-promote: When you meet people and network, people form a first impression within seconds. Self-promotion will leave them hooked on you and leaves them with a feeling of wanting to hear more from you. Smart self-promoters show up prepared. They value face time with others and are always ready with stories about themselves. Just make sure you are able to recognize your own achievements.

Keep the "I" out of it. When you&re talking about yourself, don&t use the word "I" in every sentence. That easily labels you as arrogant and self-absorbed. Instead, speak more broadly about your skills. Rather than saying, “I have …,” or “I can do …,” find an item in the conversation that relates to your accomplishment. Then start with something like, “When I was faced with a problem at (INSERT INTERNSHIP HERE), my skills…” Talking about what you learned or experienced keeps you just short of bragging.

Brag with self-respect. Bragging modestly about yourself can boost your self-esteem and the way your employees think about you. Most people think they have two choices when it comes to self-promotion: remaining obscure or sounding obnoxious. Choose neither. Celebrate your successes. Do it gracefully and tastefully. And if you learn to brag with finesse, you may find others will open up.

Non-comparative boasting is evaluated less defensive or threatening. Non-comparative can point out your virtues and at the same time, come across as playful.