Self Promoters: How Great Do You Say You Are?


December 18, 2012

self-promotionI’ve worked in Human Resources nearly all my adult life.  This means I’ve had the opportunity to talk with more people about their job qualifications, skills, abilities and interests than most.  One thing is clear, a majority of people I talk to are people who do not want to tell you how great they are.  It’s usually the opposite.

I hear about peoples’ anxieties, feelings of inadequacy, desire to improve, etc.  The people who really are the “rockstars” are often the least likely to toot their own horn.  The people that constantly tell everyone how great they are or how many things they accomplish are often the ones who are doing so in order to cover the fact that they are living a lie.  Their performance can be sub-par and they overcompensate to hide that they are insecure or less productive.

I am starting to see the same thing on social platforms.  Do you have that one friend who posts non-stop about how great their marriage is?  Well, it probably isn’t.  How about the “friend” who has the “best job in the world” or who self promotes constantly in order to sell something? Safe to say we probably all know people like these.

So what’s the point?

When are we going to be able to convince people that it’s ok to not be perfect at everything?  I’m going to challenge everyone to use 2013 as a year when you do two things:

  1. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to take credit or accolades for all the good things you do…. try to do it more in the coming year.  YOU are the type of people we want to hear from because you’re the one doing your best to keep companies running, to treat employees and customers with respect, to volunteer in charitable organizations, to participate in your religious community, and more.
  2. If you’re someone who ONLY shares a hyped-up version of reality or over-inflates your performance, take it down a notch in 2013.  Just be yourself.  Be real.  It will make others accept you more and you’ll find that whether it’s being more honest at work about areas you can improve or online by promoting yourself less…. you’ll be happier and more supported.

What do you think?  Which bucket do you fall into?



  • I love this post Trish…well, MOST of me loves this post. And then there’s the guy (I think it’s a guy) sitting in the back row of my brain shouting “Wait a minute!!!”

    If I’m a natural introvert, good at what I do, completely comfortable NOT extolling my own accomplishments to everyone via social media, then I really don’t need or want to be challenged to change who I am. I’m pretty damned good this way. Oops, is this a family blog? On the other hand (still the guy, or whatever, from the back row), if part of my personality thrives in sharing the awesomeness that is my life with everyone, be it real or imaginary, that’s still part of who I am. It’s one of the flaws that makes me me.

    I really like the way you’ve captured some of the prevalent behaviors that you’ve observed in your social and professional community and I (or we) agree to having seen much of the same. Ultimately, we (the back row, along with the rest of us) have decided we don’t want to declare which bucket we’re in 🙂

  • Absolutely agree, and I’m certainly in the introvert quiet performer stable – a rockstar, well I prefer to let others decide if I am or not (which is kinda the point your post is arguing about). I’ve recently starting blogging as a way to reinforce my levels of performance – amazing how reading earlier posts on my blog I reflect and think wow, yes I really did do that. While I use a pen name (I have an uncle Frank, so Frank seemed like a great pen name), I have taken on occasion to including my blog in job applications to provide the reader with further information about what I do and how I do it.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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