How to Brag at Work (Without Sounding Awful)

Advance Your Career through Bragging and Self-Promotion

When it comes to talking about your own strengths and achievements, you may feel somewhat awkward, as though you might come off as conceited to your colleagues. Talking about yourself favorably can feel incredibly uncomfortable in even “acceptable” settings—resumes, cover letters, and interviews, for instance. It does not have to feel that way, though. In fact, occasionally bragging about what sets you apart from others and makes you right for the job can help advance your career. The trick is to be honest and specific about your accomplishments and to boast about them as though you believe what you are saying to be true. Being a strategic professional braggart takes a certain level of confidence and some practice, too. This article will offer some tips that will help you go further just by talking yourself up more often.

1. Be specific and concrete by focusing on results.

When you speak or write of your accomplishments, try not to talk merely about how great you are, but talk about the accomplishments themselves, including what you did to achieve your success. (Augustine: “Start Bragging to Advance your Career).  Did you complete a particularly exemplary project? Work in a team setting in an exceptionally professional manner? Solve a problem at work in a smart and profitable way? Whatever the case, be specific. Try to use numbers or metrics if you know them, to quantify the results of your actions. Think about how your achievements benefited not just you, but also those around you, specifically your team or institution. By doing this, prospective employers and your network will have a better idea not just of your own motivation and talents but how they can contribute to the health of a company or organization.

2. Brag with a when and why.

Being able to quantify your accomplishments includes being able to put a date or at least time period to when you achieved what you did, if you can (Augustine).  Perhaps there is no single date that you can recall; this is fine as well. But consider other important details: why did you act the way you did? Who benefited from your actions? If possible, include testimonials of your outstanding performance from clients, colleagues, or managers (Augustine). Others’ experiences can really help illustrate the importance of your contributions.

3. Always actively work to improve your resume; be involved and stay involved.

A long list of awards and credentials is great; just try not to stay so satisfied with yourself to the point that you stop seeking out challenges. Even when you are not working on a particularly impressive project for work, take up your own endeavors. Learn a new skill that may be practical to your field. Participate in workshops or conferences. Whatever you do, make sure that you are regularly updating your resume. You want a timeline that reveals consistent effort and achievement, no matter how big or small they may be. If they add to your experience and skillset, then they are work bragging about.

4. Be organized about your achievements.

On your resume or other documents, your accomplishments will be much easier to digest and appreciate if you organize them accordingly. How you organize them is up to you. Perhaps they look best when arranged chronologically. Maybe you group them by type: a section for awards, a place for projects, and so on. Maybe you choose to highlight the most significant and relevant achievements first and then work your way “down.” However you do it, make sure that it is clear to your reader. Any specific descriptions should be clearly describing what it is supposed to be describing. Make sure your formatting is legible. Favor clarity over flourish.

5. Be engaging; tell stories where appropriate.

When presenting important information about yourself, it is important to be straightforward. That said, there is nothing wrong with being engaging as well. In fact, a good, detailed anecdote about how you achieved what you did may sufficiently and subtly get across your achievements in ways that merely listing them will not (Nemko: “10 Life Lessons to Advance Your Career).  Include numbers and statistics where necessary, but also appeal to the senses with more qualitative data.  This tip is especially useful when describing your strengths. Anyone can mention being a hard worker, but it the little details that truly define the hard workers and help them stand out from the rest. You may be a good team player, and that is certainly great, but showing how you are a team player is even better. How did your teamwork result in a better project, for instance? What was the name of the project at hand? Stories like these reveal a lot not just about your value as a professional, but as a person as well. And people want to work with other people, not just well-trained robots.

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Need help crystallizing your “brag”?  Do you want to develop your “bragging” networking skills?  Contact here with a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services to work on skills.  Or, learn more about open finance and accounting industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group or learn more about open legal industry opportunities with a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.


Works Cited

Augustine, Amanda. “Start Bragging to Advance Your Career.” The Ladders. TheLadders, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Nemko, Marty. “10 Life Lessons Guaranteed to Advance Your Career.” U.S. News and World Report Money. U.S. News and World Report, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.


By Lexacount Search

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Lexacount Search is a boutique recruiting and staffing company, focusing on permanent placement for legal and accounting professionals. We place attorneys, paralegals, accountants, and contract specialists with law firms and corporations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and nationwide. Equidistant from New York and Washington, D.C., our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia. Our search consultants have a range of experiences as lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, accountants and accounting clerks. These backgrounds make our consultants uniquely qualified to match your skills and career goals with permanent positions with our clients. Whether you are a lawyer, paralegal, law clerk, accountant, accounting clerk or other skilled professional, Lexacount will provide you with a variety of available career opportunities.

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