how to talk about your achievements at work without bragging

In any organization, the responsibility of career management and advancement primarily lies with the employees.  “Your career is in your hands” as the saying goes. It is therefore perfectly alright to talk about and share your achievements with your team members, seniors and the leadership in appropriate forums. Just make sure that it doesn’t sound like you are bragging or in any way making your peers or juniors feel inferior. From a career advancement point of view, self-promotion or personal branding plays a pivotal role in boosting to your career. The challenge lies in walking the fine line between self-promotion and bragging. 

Annual reviews, team meetings, project-related discussions, and offsite events, are ideal forums where you can highlight specific instances of some of your key projects - which helped the business generate more ROI or deliver more value to the client. Highlighting your accomplishments in a genuine and humble manner sends a positive message to team members and the leadership, and they start looking at you as a valuable contributor.   

Here are five ways to talk about your achievements without crossing the line into bragging:

Communicate from the beginning 

Talking about your achievements and skill sets should begin during the recruitment process, so the employer gets a fair picture of the value you bring to the table. According to a LinkedIn study, nearly 86% of recruiters firmly believe that it is imperative that the candidates communicate their achievements clearly in order to stand out. However, 52% of survey respondents stated that they would rather discuss the accomplishments of their colleagues, rather than their own. Why? The reason was simple. Respondents felt that talking about their accomplishments may come across as bragging. But it’s important to remember that significant accomplishments come with a lot of effort and hard work. It’s alright to talk about them by keeping the emphasis on the hard work and the creativity you used in working towards your accomplishments.

Avoid comparisons

The focal point of any meeting or discussion should be about what you have achieved and not a comparison of your accomplishments with others. Making others feel inferior and patronizing their achievements will not help elevate your status or image in front of others. This type of situation should be avoided at all costs, especially when people from the same background, possessing similar skill sets are working towards a common business goal. Comparisons or disparaging remarks will ultimately lead to an unhealthy relationship and a negative team environment. 

Be appreciative of other’s achievements

It is important to give credit to your colleagues, especially when you have collaboratively achieved the business goal. Avoid taking the limelight for project related efforts or bragging about your contribution. Accept that you are not solely responsible for your success and acknowledge your team members, manager, juniors or whosoever helped you along the way. Such an approach helps build a positive working relationship with your colleagues. For your part, you can specify the role you played and then offer praise for the other team members while highlighting their role in the achievement.

Be specific and talk only about the facts

Stick to facts and figures and avoid any vague declarations while talking about your achievements. The key is to express pride without sounding like a braggart. Backing up your achievement with facts and data in a simple and direct manner will make your achievement sound more authentic and powerful.

Be thankful for your achievement and highlight the overall impact

Expressing a little gratitude and being grateful for your success will help you come across as down to earth and not self-gloating. Talk about the overall impact the achievement made, and what measures you and other team members took to achieve the end objective, rather than singling out your contribution or your thought process in particular. Keep the overall message straight and simple by emphasizing on the impact that your work has made on the organization and the team. 

Being able to showcase your accomplishments not only helps establish your credibility but also keeps you motivated to move on to the next challenge that the business presents. However, you can only go so far alone, without the involvement and commitment of your team members, superiors and the trust of your leadership. The bottom line: avoid overconfidence, poor outlook, and unfair treatment while walking the fine line between self-confidence and humility.  
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