Learn How to Brag Without Sounding Like a Jerk

Believe it or not, self promotion is not something I do well. It is brought home to me regularly when I’m writing monthly reports in the office or when someone asks me for my bio for a speaking gig. A couple of months ago I tweeted that I needed help with this and several people replied that they did too. I am by no means done in my quest but I thought I’d share what I’ve found so far.

I didn’t find much online so I turned to books.  My library didn’t have anything specifically about self promotions so I turned to the career books thinking there had to at least be a chapter in each.  The first one I picked up at my library as a book on CD was Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. The book is aimed at an audience slightly younger than me, probably someone just starting out in their career. But I figure it’s never to late to teach an old dog, or well, slightly older than young dog, new tricks.  There is some good general career advise in this book and I would definitely recommend it.

It let me to the second book, Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It. I highly recommend this book.

Klaus covers the reasons you NEED to brag by looking at some myths or excuses why we don’t.

Myth #1: A Job Well Done Speaks For Itself
Myth #2: Bragging Is Something You Do During Performance
Myth #3: Humility Gets You Noticed
Myth #4: I Don’t Have To Brag; People Will Do It For Me
Myth #5: More Is Better
Myth #6: Good Girls Don’t Brag
Myth #7: Brag Is A Four-Letter Word

If you don’t think you have anything worth bragging about she as a Take-12 Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

Don’t feel that you have to answer these in order. You can start anywhere and skip around. As you move through the questions, you’ll likely think of things you might have overlooked when answering earlier ones. In fact, you’ll probably want to go over your responses once more after you have completed the evaluation. Remember, the more time you put into this exercise, the more specific details you provide, the easier it will be to create brag bites and bragologues that will be crystal clear and interesting to those who don’t already know you well.

  1. What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?
  2. What are the ten most interesting things you have done or that have happened to you?
  3. What do you do for a living and how did you end up doing it?
  4. What do you like/love about your current job/career?
  5. How does your job/career use your skills and talents, and what projects are you working on right now that best showcase them?
  6. What career successes are you most proud of having accomplished (from current position and past jobs)?
  7. What new skills have you learned in the last year?
  8. What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today, both professionally and personally, and what essential lessons have you learned from some of your mistakes?
  9. What training/education have you completed and what did you gain from those experiences?
  10. What professional organizations are you associated with and in what ways_member, board, treasurer, or the like?
  11. How do you spend your time outside of work, including hobbies, interests, sports, family, and volunteer activities?
  12. In what ways are you making a difference in people’s lives?

Klaus shares real world examples of when bragging has failed and succeeded. More importantly, for me, she shares tips for bragging without sounds like a jerk. This is a HUGE problem for me, I feel like I sound like a complete ass anytime I attempt any form of self promotion.

I definitely recommend this book, especially for women. After listening to the panel at Women Who Tech talk about Clay Shirky’s post, A Rant About Women, I’m more convinced than ever that women need to a do a better job of self promotion and for asking for what they want.

Additional books on these topics:

19 thoughts on “Learn How to Brag Without Sounding Like a Jerk

  1. @librarianbyday I agree. I am one of the people that thought Clay Shirkey’s post had some great points. Thanks for this recommendation.


  2. @librarianbyday Interesting article about how to put yourself out there in a good way. Thank you for the recommended titles. / #libr246


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