Mekelle፡ 6 June 2024 (Tigray Herald)


Here is your assignment. Learn to brag at least once a day about what you have accomplished. I said what you have accomplished not about the usual Axum, Lalibela, Adwa old crap.

In the US there is a bragging lesson that you actually pay to learn bragging. For example, a male CEO says my company. A female company says our company. Teach your daughters lessons how to brag.

My daughter needs help feeling more comfortable highlighting her achievements. She told me yesterday, “This feels so unnatural. Like I’m making a brag sheet or like I’m some product.” She is REALLY struggling with this concept. 

She was putting together her resume’ for a potential job. Making a resume’ is such a normal part of life, I didn’t give it any extra thought.

But then we hit this wall.

She was feeling like a terrier on display at the Westminster Dog Show, and she doesn’t like doing things for show.

“You need to list your accomplishments. These things should make you proud, not embarrassed,” I explained.

My daughter, like many women, hates anything that smacks of boasting, and this process was one big “Look At Me!” exercise.

Women loathe office politics and tooting one’s own horn. We don’t like talking about ourselves. I see so many adult women who think that if they focus on doing incredible work, someone somewhere will notice them. Unfortunately, more often than not, they’ll get passed over for promotion for someone who is just better at promoting themselves. If you aren’t playing politics, someone else will do it for you…often with disastrous results.

Corinne Moss-Racusin, a researcher at Yale, conducted a study of male and female test subjects in a mock job interview. During the interview, they were forced to self-promote. The results were that men are much better at talking up their achievements than women.

The study concluded that, first, women tend to give away credit for their achievement, such as ‘I had such a great team’ or ‘I had an incredible mentor.’ Secondly, we often sprinkle ‘negative elements’ into our accomplishments, such as talking about how we ‘struggled at first’ before we succeeded in the end.

Author, Julia Hubbel, isn’t surprised and says there is a reason women don’t brag. “Traditional gender roles dictate to women in America (and elsewhere) that we are to support the community, support our men, and celebrate others’ achievements. Not our own. In fact, to the detriment of our careers, our lives, and our sense of self. To be joyful about our accomplishments is seen as a combination of improper, flaunting, and rude.

Unfortunately, this well-ingrained, social construct has real ramifications on women’s careers no matter where they work. When women don’t feel they can self promote, their accomplishments tend to be overlooked. They get less recognition, and this directly impacts their promotability. When women don’t model healthy self-promotion, other women can’t see how to navigate either, and it becomes a vicious circle.

But it’s not as easy as just getting used to and doing more boasting. Not surprisingly, women are judged more harshly than men if perceived to be bragging.

And, honestly, no one likes a callus braggart no matter what gender they are

One disclaimer: your motivation has to be sincere. If you are only trying to gain admirers or make yourself look better than others, no amount of ‘tips and techniques’ is going to work. You will always look like a narcissist, whether you are a man or a woman. 

There is a way to highlight your accomplishments that doesn’t come across as cocky like my pet peeve, the ‘humble brag’ either. Yup, studies by Harvard Business School show humble-bragging makes you sound insincere. Of course, it does! People see right through you when you try to hide self-promotion as a complaint. That goes for the qualifier too. Saying, “I hate to brag, but” only tells people that you are going to brag. Saying, “I’m so excited! I worked so hard and long on X, and it finally paid off,” instead, sounds like sincere enthusiasm.

Another mistake people make is to simply list the activities or positions you had and assume others will figure out how great you are based on these vague descriptions. 

This is why it’s so important to communicate your achievements. People aren’t mind-readers. 

If you want someone to read your application or resume,’ call you in for an interview or advance you to the next level, you’ll need to be direct and to the point about what you’ve accomplished.

So let’s do that, shall we? 

When writing a resume or while telling a story during an interview, here are a few techniques that not only should feel less uncomfortable but also will have the most success in landing that job or opportunity. 

One of the best ways to focus on achievement-based facts is to use CAR stories. CAR stands for:




My daughter had put on her resume’:

President of Beads For Good Deeds, which makes beaded jewelry to sell at the farmers’ market. All proceeds benefit the local women’s shelter.


Is she a figurehead? Did she do anything? This description doesn’t tell anyone anything. Now let’s apply CAR to this experience. Identify a challenge, what action you took, and what the result was. It doesn’t have to be in that order in the sentence, as you’ll see below, but it has to have all three elements.

• After an aggressive word-of-mouth campaign and investing in a bigger and better-positioned recruitment booth at the school club fair, we increased membership from five to 25 members.

• We increased our donations to the women’s shelter by 50% by adding three more fundraising events to our club schedule.

It was interesting that my daughter felt more comfortable with this process because it felt like a formula. Perhaps it’s because she’s still in math class or because it feels more clinical. Regardless, she settled right in. Even when I pushed her to put in effort words like ‘aggressive,’ it somehow felt less like bragging.

No doubt, getting used to touting your accomplishments takes time but also make sure you get used to applauding yourself on the inside. Amy Morin, the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, says, “It’s important to get comfortable with your success. When you feel worthy of your success, you’ll feel less awkward talking about your greatness.”

My daughter, like many girls, IS mentally strong and capable. Now she just needs to practice the words and phraseology that reflect who she is and what she is capable of, so it becomes more natural.


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