How to Self-Promote Without Sounding Arrogant

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Maybe you don’t like self-promoting. It might make you uncomfortable, and that’s okay. It’s better to feel hesitant about the situation than over-confident in yourself. But when push comes to shove, part of getting hired is selling yourself well. You’re their ideal “product,” so to speak, and you need to let them know that (humbly, of course). 

Here’s how to self-promote without sounding arrogant.

Be Visible, but Not Too Visible

“It’s a common misconception that if you keep your head down and do good work, it will get noticed. This isn’t always the case, particularly if your work isn’t visible,” said Associate Director of Employer Engagement at the University of Iowa Abbie Reuter. You want to be visible, but for those who want to know. So try not to “over speak” of yourself by always bringing up things you’ve done. “When a person is listing their accomplishments or talents just for the sake of telling everyone, that’s bragging. If a person is in a situation where listing [that] is relevant, that’s self-promotion,” said Assistant Ticket Office Manager for the University of Iowa Bridget Crossett. Yes, it’s a tricky line but important to keep in mind when filling out a resume, during an interview, or talking to others about your accomplishments. 

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

The hardest situation when self-promoting will be during the interview. Here, employers give you a platform to discuss yourself, but don’t take that for granted. It’s still not great to talk about only yourself; you don’t want to come off as inconsiderate, braggy or self-centered. However, there are times where you’re supposed to highlight your achievements and be selfish. For instance, when asked why you’re the best fit for the job, “say your answer without worrying about arrogance,” said Assistant Director at the Career Leadership Academy at the University of Iowa Elise Perea. They’re asking you to brag, be selfish and talk about yourself, so do it. 

Watch Your Tone


But always be aware of the tone in which you speak of yourself. For instance, mention a skill you’ve learned and a story or an example that helped you learned. “This has your work speak for itself and moves away from sounding arrogant,” Perea said. By doing this, you display how you’ve learned a skill and followed it with a situation where that skill was displayed—helping your interviewer to fully understand what you’re saying and doesn’t just present them with generalizations.

Let Your Work Speak for Itself

We can all be masters of our own destruction, especially when it comes to self-promoting. Whether we care to admit it or not, we can come off as arrogant through an application by using the wrong words, phrases or tone. Now, we all know you may deserve that job, promotiomn or raise but you don’t need to send a cringey email or resume to prove that. Send something that puts yourself in a better light, shows you are deserving and you genuinely care about how you’re presented.

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