Showing off is not bad if done appropriately: Convincing a prospective employer of your positive traits
In the animal kingdom, mostly the males have evolved various physical attributes, which they show off, to attract the female of the species. In various ways, we the naked apes, also engage in various behaviours to show ourselves off to attract the opposite gender. Not only is this encouraged but it is big business catering to this social phenomenon. At a structural level therefore, there is little difference between the elaborate plumage of the New Guinea Bird of Paradise and how people adorn themselves for a night out.
With some cultural exceptions this kind of showing off at the work place and when seeking employment is frowned upon. In fact, showing off what you have to offer can be counterproductive. It can and does turn people off. But show off you must in order first to get that all important interview and second be offered a job by an especially desirable employer.
Successfully negotiating this paradox is every job applicants challenge. When it is done well the outcome is a job offer of the best kind.
Some style is required but it is mostly about how you think/reason abut experiences. Narcissistic personality types can stop reading right here. They interpret experience from the first person singular “I”. There is no we or us when it comes to accomplishments. Not only is this perspective offensive and troublesome in the work place it is also not true.
Any and all accomplishments are the result of collaboration, team work, the support and/or encouragement of others and most of all what others accomplished before you. Recognizing and demonstrating your understanding of this is critically important if you want to distinguish yourself from the masses. This is best done in a carefully crafted, this is where style is important, covering letter that summarizes and explains what is in your resume. It requires acknowledging collaborative work with others, mentorships and scholarly guidance by teachers, opportunities afforded by organizations in which you have been involved and most importantly the benefits of thinking collectively to solve problems or overcome obstacles.
Your carefully crafted covering letter will convey that you are a contributing team player because you get along with others. This attribute is incompatible with being a badly behaved person the kind every employer wants to desperately avoid. To enhance your appropriate and constructive showing off it would also be useful to include in your application a professionally prepared quantitative and qualitative profile that confirms how you described and explained your resume.
You don’t have to do it alone! Our Career Wise workshop can help rise your profile to show off appropriately.