How to Brag Without Bragging

Your goal during any job interview is to sell yourself. Essentially to brag about yourself and what you can do. However, this can be tricky because while you want to show what you can do, you don’t want to come across as arrogant or egotistical.

There is a bit of a balancing act involved. You want to brag without looking like you are bragging. Here are a few techniques to help you and give you more credibility as well.

Talk about what you can do rather than who you are.

When you tell the interviewer you are creative, or analytical, or a good leader, you are telling them about some quality you possess. It is essentially an unsubstantiated statement. The hiring manager is more interested in what you can do as opposed to who you are.

These kinds of statements of qualities that you possess tend to come across more like bragging. However, if you phrase your statements in the form of what you can do, it sounds less like bragging and more like giving information about your qualifications.

Tell the interviewer what you have accomplished in your previous positions. As with your resume, use action verbs to give a more compelling narrative. And avoid using big words. The reason for this should be easy to see – it comes across as a transparent effort to show off or as arrogant.

Use a third person reference.

Tell the interviewer what someone else said about your performance. For example, you could say, “My colleagues have told me that I am very creative, or very resourceful.” That way, you are not bragging about your accomplishments, someone else is. You are simply relating what they have said about you; avoiding the discomfort of sounding like you are bragging.

Talk about your enthusiasm.

If you say something like “I am an excellent salesman,” it comes off as bragging, and may not carry much weight with the interviewer. But if you say something like, “Selling is something I really enjoy, something that gives me real satisfaction,” you are talking about your strength in terms of your motivation, which may carry more weight with the interviewer.

Show your pride.

When you talk about your accomplishments, talk about them in terms of how proud you are of what you have done. “I am really proud of what we were able to accomplish with the restructuring in such a short time.”

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