Modesty is not a virtue: Why Londoners need to blow their own trumpet more

Darain Faraz
Pool Players
In Italy, the US and Sweden, two fifths of professionals are happy to discuss their achievements (Source: Getty)

As Brits, we often shy away from shouting about our professional successes. Perhaps we worry about sounding arrogant, or like we’re overcompensating.

But new research released by LinkedIn suggests this modesty could be holding Londoners back in their careers.

Our modesty problem

The global study shows that 70 per cent of the capital’s professionals know they need to talk about their professional achievements to get ahead at work, but only 23 per cent actually feel comfortable doing this. Nearly a fifth of professionals in London feel awkward, shy or scared when it comes to shouting about their work achievements and career.

Moreover, 62 per cent of London workers feel like they are bragging if they talk about professional success, with two-thirds preferring to talk about the success of their colleagues rather than their own.

It’s not just in the UK that this could be holding workers back. The research found that Londoners need to up their game when it comes to self-praise if they want to compete in the international jobs market. In Italy, the US and Sweden, two-fifths of professionals are comfortable shouting about work success, compared to just a quarter of those in the UK.

We should feel proud of talking about our achievements, whether it’s with a potential employer who could offer you your dream job, or colleagues who could help you on your way to a promotion.

Here are some simple things you can do to sing your own praises without sounding like you’re bragging.

Show your skills

Be selective. You don’t need to mention everything you’ve ever done on your CV, online profile or in job interviews. Cherry-pick your best achievements, and make sure you’ve got tangible examples to back them up.

Have others talk for you

A recommendation from an ex-colleague, boss or client can have a huge impact, and prevents you from having to boast about your achievements.

Read more: The worst LinkedIn buzzwords of 2015

Asking someone to give you a reference in person or an endorsement on LinkedIn will speak volumes about you, and will allow you to show off your experience without saying a word.

Share your success

Always remind people of your success. Add promotions and key achievements to your CV and LinkedIn profile as they happen, and before you forget. These updates will be shared across your network and are a subtle way of showing off your career development, keeping you in the front of a recruiter’s mind without having to shout from the rooftops.

Put yourself forward

Showing your value and worth as an employee is one of the best ways to get recognised. It may seem daunting, but putting yourself forward to attend events and represent your company at functions will not only get you seen, it will also give you the chance to network with new people.

Online is your friend

When it comes to hiring, employers are increasingly using social media to check out candidates. You need to think of the online world as a shop window for your career.

Read more: Six CV mistakes that could end up costing you

Make sure your social media profile is up to date, engaging and reflects your offline persona. Don’t leave that brilliant presentation or slick portfolio gathering digital dust on your desktop. Add it to your online profiles for the world to see.

Tell your work story

Whether it’s for your CV or online profile, write a career summary which focuses on what you’re most proud of, and why you’re passionate about your profession or industry. Ensure that this focuses on your accomplishments and offers specific examples of your success, rather than giving vague descriptions.