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.

A One Page CV? Why? And Could it Give You Any Advantage?

It’s not that often that you’re asked for a 1 page CV. But could it be a good strategy for you?

Well – your CV is there to make an impact for you. Boom! (in the words of Donkey/Eddie Murphy in Shrek). But let’s be straight – sometimes there’s just not that much to say that’s worthy of “Boom!” It happens.

So sometimes it’s an effective strategy to take what you have and make it really count. Making it more concise – 1 page – helps you to focus more attention on what you want attention focused on.

With 1 page there’s nowhere for the reader to go. And by highlighting carefully chosen words or elements (like key achievements) one has the chance to get a message accross with more “Boom!”.

But additionally: there is just something about a 1 pager CV that says: I’m confident; I don’t need lots of words to make me look good; I’m with it; I’m in the modern age.

Older job hunters especially pay attention: don’t reinforce the “old, left behind” stereotype by having a 10 page traditional CV. Rather take the risk of a one pager, highlighting your best big results. Rather cast the light on how you make a difference.

Your message can easily be diluted by lots of information. More information can always be added. But the chance to make a Boom first impression only happens once.

You will irritate recruiters with a 1 page CV. They will ask for more. But so what? If they’re calling you – impressed with the short version – that’s a big achievement and then you have the chance to dazzle them on the phone, in an interview or with additional focused material that builds further on your 1 pager.

Just some ideas. ‘Cause if you keep on doing the same old things, then you know what you can expect?!

[Of course getting it right is another matter. Maybe you need some help. Call me/e-mail me anytime for help with this. My CV writing services are there for you. My mail: or go here for more.]

The Best Time You Can Spend Online When Job Hunting – a Supercharged Cover Letter Idea

So I got this mail from a CV writing client today, just updating me on his search. Here’s what he said after a week or so of job hunting (name has been changed).

And with it comes a key job hunting lesson. (And when I say “key” I mean “KEY” – as in save yourself hours, days and weeks of aimless Internet surfing to find that new jobs website that has all those perfect jobs for you that no-one else has discovered yet!)

Hi Gerard, I have had a response to the CV from a recruitment agent. Which is more than I have had before. So I feel it is working… I have sent my CV to people that I know.

Here’s my answer to him – he wasn’t complaining but I can tell what’s going on there – he’s main job search strategy is recruiters and job websites. And just for good measure he’s also “sent my CV to people that I know.”

Hi Pete, Good that you’re getting some results. It’s a tough market. So it’s going to be about ‘working’ it and not doing what everyone else does (ie answer job ads). Good to see you already sending your CV out to contacts – but also make personal contact, have coffee, talk to people – and keep doing that. And then there’s this idea:

If you spend time online then spend it researching all the CTO’s you can find (Technical Officers or similar) [Pete is an IT Manager], getting their contact details and mailing them (e-mail or actually hard copy) a letter like this: 

Dear Mr Jones

For the last while I’ve been looking out for companies I’d like to work for. And after checking out – especially your comments regarding expansion in the new financial year – perhaps there’s a match between what you’re going to need and what I have?

Quick Profile:

Offering 12+ Years Experience Managing ICT Infrastructure, Teams, Support and Service – Currently at [current employer] Achieving 100% Service Level Performance – with Performance Bonuses Awarded for the 8 Years Straight.

I’m still at [current company] but I’d like to get together to explore options with you, if you’re willing. No commitment.

Can I follow up with you on this during the next week? Will call your office.


Do that kind of research and drop that kind of letter often enough and you’re going to uncover some great opportunities. Let me know how it goes.

 That’s what I said. What do you think? Not passive that’s for sure. Too much job hunting IS passive. And it leaves one frustrated and helpless. And without a job frequently. Isn’t it time for a bolder approach?

Hell, yeah. It’s the best way to spend your time online when job hunting.


Powered by WhatsApp Chat

× How can I help you?