On the Importance of Bragging

Guest Blogger Emily Roper

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.06.24 AMI’m a junior university student at a fairly elite university.  I have a great GPA and experiences in Division I varsity athletics, volunteering, working, study abroad, and research.  Thirty years ago, this alone would have probably guaranteed me my choice of job in a career field with a good salary, benefits, a retirement plan, and a pension.  Today, I’m just praying that at this time next year, I will have a job because someone will be willing to hire me without the 3 years of relevant experience most employers ask for.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that hoping for a job won’t be enough, and there are a lot of things I could already be doing to increase my employability.  Among these things, one of the most basic is developing my resume and portfolio so that it reflects my skills.  Simple, right?

Think again.  Maybe this task is easy for some, but I’ve found that the biggest challenge in developing my professional identity has been learning to talk about myself.  Identifying a particular skill set is incredibly difficult for me, not because I don’t have one, but because I feel like I’m bragging.

I don’t want to say that I’m smart; what if I walk into a room full of people interviewing me who have IQs of 160?

I don’t want to say that I have leadership skills; what if those skills fall short in a moment of need?

I don’t want to say that I can speak Spanish; what if I’m called upon to use my Spanish skills and I can’t remember a word?

I don’t even want to say that I’m hard-working; what if something happens in my life that distracts my attention from my work?

Besides, who am I to say these things about myself?  Don’t they mean more coming from someone else?

I could get into all these reasons why I find it so hard to talk about myself.  I could talk about living in a culture where even the most competent women aren’t expected to talk about themselves because it means we are stepping out of our place.  I could talk about how I am 21-years-old and don’t have any real life experience to put on a resume anyway.  I could talk about being raised to think that hard work always speaks for itself.  But all those things won’t get me a job.

So this is me, declaring that what I’ve learned in CUPID Studio is the importance of being able to talk about myself to other people and that I will get a job because I deserve it.  Because I do have skills.  Because I can be a great employee.

I’m Emily Roper, a leader, an intellectual, a hard worker, a passionate and compassionate person with skills in problem solving, listening, teamwork, grammar, editing, writing, public speaking, research, and Microsoft Office.  And I will be a great asset to anyone who is willing to hire me.

I encourage you, take a minute and evaluate yourself.  Learn to brag.  It is sort of liberating.  And most importantly, it might be the thing that gets you a job.  If you struggle with it like I do, here are a few great strategies for how to talk about yourself without coming off as a narcissist.

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