As Canadians, we have a reputation for modesty. While in some cases this tendency is overstated, the stereotype applies when it comes to our professional lives. Recent LinkedIn research revealed that only 29 per cent of Canadian professionals said they're proud to talk about their professional achievements, compared to 40 per cent of Americans. Only two in five feel comfortable talking about their own professional achievements to others.
In a world of selfies and sharing photos of what we're eating for breakfast, it's strange that we still hold back from promoting ourselves: 53 per cent of Canadian professionals admitted that talking about their achievements feels like they're bragging, while 55 per cent said they'd rather talk about their colleagues' achievements than their own.
Thing is, if you don't tell your work story well, who will? It's not about being obnoxious; it's about confidently articulating your accomplishments and giving your professional story context for colleagues, recruiters, and current (as well as potential) employers.
If you met your dream employer tomorrow, how ready would you be to wow them and land the job? This would be difficult for many Canadian professionals, given that more than one-third (36 per cent) admitted they find it hard to describe what they do.
So, how do you walk this fine line and really lean into the #humblebrag?
Here are a few tips to help you start shedding that unnecessary modesty and confidently promote yourself.
Put Your Best Face Forward: Did you know that Linkedin users with a photo receive up to 21 times more profile views? Your photo is your virtual handshake, so upload an approachable image that aligns with your role as a professional. That said, you don't need to spend money on a professional photographer. Here's a handy guide to taking the perfect work selfie.
First Impressions Matter: Take some time to craft a compelling elevator pitch (free of generic buzzwords) outlining who you are, where you want to go, and the accomplishments that demonstrate your value. Seventy-nine per cent of Canadian recruitment decision makers say they would rather read a profile that includes a creative summary of a candidate instead of just a listing of their previous jobs.
Find Your Voice: Whether it's starting your own blog, posting regularly on social media (with a professional bent) or publishing a post on LinkedIn, make sure your network knows you're on top of the issues that impact your industry. A short, well-articulated post that demonstrates your unique POV can help showcase who you are and how you think.
Get Offline: Professional networks like LinkedIn are essential to building your professional brand and telling your work story to the world, but one key to building out your network is being able to make your online connections into real-life advocates for you. Remember that elevator pitch? You need one IRL too. Telling a consistent story both on and offline is crucial to making your work story memorable.
Skills to Pay the Bills: Sites like LinkedIn offer you the ability to highlight your skills and demonstrate areas of expertise. By adding at least five relevant skills, you'll be messaged up to 31 times more by recruiters and other members.
Location, Location, Location: More than 30 per cent of recruiters use location when searching for candidates, so make sure to include your location to make it easier for them to find you. If you're looking to make a location change, put some thought into how you can best communicate this to prospective employers.
Polish up that career narrative; it's time to be the hero in your own #workstory.
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