John works for X company. He is looking for a better opportunity. He is an ambitious, hard worker with extensive experience in his field. He updates his resume and starts sending it out. Recruiters contact him for interviews. He does well on the technical part, but he is fails to talk about his core skills in interviews. To John, it feels like he would be showing off, which might do more harm than good. So he just lists some of the skills without supporting them with evidence. He leaves one interview room after the other knowing that he has not left the interviewer something that sets him apart from other candidates. And like that, he loses one job opportunity after the other.
Ben also works for X company. He too is looking for a better paying job, and he too updates his resume and starts sending it out. Ben has far less technical experience than John, and not the best core skills for the job market. Unlike John, he leads his resume with confidence, playing with words to leave the we-need-him on the team effect on employers and recruiters. During interviews, he speaks with confidence, brags about skills he might not even have at the time of the interview, but he has the can-do attitude every employer is looking for. He always leaves an interview room knowing he would be remembered. And like that, he gets one job offer after another.
What is common between these two stories? It is how John and Ben differ in the language they use to show their skills and achievements. Although John fits the requirements of big companies in his field, he loses jobs because the language he uses when talking about his skills doesn’t carry sense of accomplishment or much confidence in his abilities. Ben, on the other hand, knows exactly how to talk himself up to impress people. He doesn’t shy away from glorifying his mediocre skills to leave a good impression. He does it with pride and confidence that he always looks like the perfect fit for the job.
John and Ben are two examples of a situation that affects many of us. You might have the experience and the skills for the job of your dream, but somehow you can’t land it, while another with less experience and skill seems to have no problem at all. It all boils down to NLP.
NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) works on the principal that our way of perceiving the world around us can lead to changes in how we think, communicate, and act in any situation. It connects our minds (neuro), the language we use (linguistic), and how the way we act, programs our behavior and our body (programming).
In the 1970s, LP researchers Richard Bandler and John Grinder coined this term. Their goal was to help people have better, fuller lives. They examined how our thoughts can shape our reality. The quest was to reach what makes highly successful people so good.
It discovered that one of the main aspects of excellence is the way people use language, to express their thoughts and to communicate with others.NLP techniques have been used worldwide to help people become better communicators, and more productive individuals.
What does that simply mean for us? It means that the language we use to talk about our achievements and skills makes all the difference. It’s not enough to have a skill if you don’t know how to show it off. If you scroll through Facebook, you will see how people talk themselves up. They are so persuasive and so confident that they are easily believed.
So how can someone brag about his skills without sounding showy? That is called humblebragging. It is the way people show off their successes today. The average person as well as successful people humblebrag.
Humblebragging is a coinage of two contradictory terms. Humility and bragging. And although it might seem outwardly negative, it is necessary. People know the importance of self-promotion, but they also know that humility is an attractive characteristic in a person. Hence, humblebragging.
Humblebragging is not a new technique. Oprah Winfrey humblebragged when she tweeted a photo of her freshly pedicured feet placed near a wall with her face on magazine covers. Former white House press secretary Ari Fleischer did the same act in 2012,when he tweeted “They just announced my flight at LaGuardia is number 15 for takeoff. I miss Air Force One!!”
Bragging about your skills and achievements should not be embarrassing. It can even be considered an important factor in success in a fast-paced economy, ruled by completion and survival of the fittest. You need to remember, however, when talking yourself up to be sincere so that you don’t trigger people’s innate insincerity radar.