Self Promotion May Scare or Repel You. 3 Ideas and an Example to Help You.

Is self promotion, y’know, something that scares you or repels you – is it something you avoid?

“I increased sales by 67% in one year” “I was voted Mr Most Valuable, 2008”

When you’re applying for a job, writing your CV or cover letter – do you find it difficult to, um, ‘blow your own horn’? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Would you rather fly under the radar, under promise and over deliver? Does that make you feel more honorable?

This is a problem area for most of us. Personality types differ. Maybe you find it easy. Maybe you don’t. But it’s got to be done (see why later). So … perhaps there’s a way of looking at it and a way of doing it that’s easier and acceptable for all? Lets examine.

A New Way of Looking at It?

Do you know that you’re actually doing everyone a disservice by not coming out and telling people what you achieved? Let’s take a case in point. One client this week, for example:

In 2009 he’s reduced overheads by 25%, he’s established 6 new business units in the last 3 years, he’s referred to by some as a “cost cutting master”

None of this is on his CV; all he had is, like, “I was Chief Operating Officer” with a bunch of boring “duties”.

A new employer wants more, needs more, to make a smart hiring decision – or even just to call the guy in for an interview. Sure he needs to know WHAT the guy does. But as important is this:

He needs to know if the guy is any good at what he does!

And it’s not a case of being obnoxious: “I’m so great! I’m the best! I’m better than … all the rest!” No. Humility is a valuable and very attractive quality – the opposite of the “I’m the best” message. But you can still promote yourself AND be humble.

Here Are 3 tips on How to do This

  • Keep things factual – use figures and statistics where possible. The opposite of “fact” is “fluff”. Fluff means no substance, just claims. It’s hype and hot air.
  • Tell a little story – which allows a bit more than just “I’m the best!” – see example below.
  • Make it visible – it’s important to give it the spotlight, include some strategic achievements in an opening profile or executive summary section.

Here’s an example:

Faced chaotic, non-compliant, backlogged Finance department, but with long hours and good teamwork was able to achieve a “clear” audit and up-to-date situation within 6 months.

That’s a nice achievement – let’s analyse it.

  • There are facts: “clear audit”, “up-to-date situation within 6 months” – these are verifyable facts, so it’s credible and believable.
  • It’s not pompous: “with team cooperation” suggests it wasn’t all “me”. And the reader gets the message that this guy can get things done, motivate and drive a team effectively, even when under pressure.
  • It tells a story – problem faced, action taken, good result: humans love little stories, so it makes the CV more readable and interesting.

It’s the easiest thing in the world for an employer to find a Manager, or whoever. But to find one who can: reduce overheads by 12% within 3 months, motivate a team to exceed sales targets by 17%, improve efficiency by 25% in 3 months, etc – that’s a much harder task.

So don’t make the task more difficult by hiding achievements away – just because you’re not comfortable with it. You’re not doing anyone any favours. Show your quality. Help the employer to see it. Help yourself.

What’s YOUR opinion on thisdo you include achievements? do you find it difficult or repulsive? do you want my opinion on your achievements – write it, post it and get my opinion by clicking the “Leave a Comment” link under the title.