It’s impossible to turn on your television or any news channel and not see and hear Presidential candidates talking about themselves and their accomplishments. They all claim outstanding records. They explain away any failures or inconsistencies in their past records. They take credit for a huge variety of successes from solving international crises to assisting small communities during difficult times. Regardless of fact checkers disputing what the candidates claim, they continue selling themselves. Experts laugh at some of their data, and we are amazed at the size of their egos. Nothing fazes them. Their hyperbole and inflated rhetoric continues.
Selling yourself as a candidate seems to have no boundaries. Selling yourself at work, however, can be trickier. How do you do it without giving the appearance of bragging or of having an oversized ego? At the same time, you don’t want your achievements underestimated or overlooked.
It is important to stand up for yourself, and to take credit for your accomplishments. It’s equally important to give credit to others when they have been part of the success. It is also crucial that you don’t misrepresent your role or inflate the importance of your efforts.
The best time to sell yourself is during your annual evaluation. If you are given the opportunity to write a self-evaluation, don’t be shy in listing what goals you met or exceeded. Be specific about your role. Were you the team leader or a team member? Did you author the final annual report or only contribute to a section? Did you actually develop the successful fundraising campaign that helped your agency begin that new program, or did you only attend a few events?
Likewise, be prepared with some bold, but achievable, goals for yourself for the coming year. Let your boss know that you want to take on more responsibility, that you want to build on the achievements and success of the past year.
Finally, be honest about what you include on your resume or in your LinkedIn profile. If you are looking for a new position, be careful that you don’t overstate your talents or your past success. Human resource professionals are also good fact checkers. Unlike those presidential hopefuls, if your claims are challenged, you might not be able to bluff your way out of the situation, and you will end up the losing candidate.