How Do I Brag About My Work Without Being Obnoxious?

An office employee wearing a red coat and mask with a city skyline background

Getting recognized for your work is a challenge in any career. If you’re modest it becomes even more difficult. But there are ways to ensure that your accomplishments are being taken into consideration without bragging. In business, communication is the key to getting your share of credit. Sharing your achievements accurately is not being arrogant. It’s being honest.

Communication starts with your manager. Meet with them often and regularly. Try to develop a standing appointment every week or every two weeks, and be prepared with an agenda so the meeting remains useful. Remember not to bore your manager with little stuff. Discuss the big picture to show you care.

These check-ins can become mini-performance reviews, where you can talk about your progress in a setting that feels natural. When the big performance review does come, you’ll be as prepared as you can be, and you won’t have to make a long list and sound like you’re boasting. Your manager will know what you did, and that can only help. Your overall value will be clear, as long as you communicate. Make sure to keep notes from these meetings, so there is easy to access documentation from specific time frames, for the end of the year evaluation process.

Word of warning: be careful with how you communicate in any meeting with your boss. You don’t want to gloss over your hard work. If something took a lot of effort your boss should know that – to a point. Avoid oversharing about the difficulty, as you may come across as whining or playing the martyr. Find a balance between the two – not minimizing or complaining, while being truthful and positive about the results.

When it comes time to talk to your boss about your work at any time, during a regular meeting or a performance review, remember that no one knows what you really achieved except for you. Keeping an open, frequent and honest line open to your manager doesn’t come off as bragging. (always share with a positive approach… a sense of humor or upbeat approach is always well received). It comes off as doing a good job. When the review does get done, there will be no need to list your many accomplishments all at once. Your manager will already know them, and probably have good things ready to say before you can say a thing.

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