Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: Why NOW is the Time to Tell Your Work Story

May 26, 2016

If you met your dream employer tomorrow, how ready would you be to wow them and land the job? If you’re worried you wouldn’t be prepared to sell yourself, you’re not alone. Forty-six percent of the professionals we recently surveyed admitted they would not feel confident in effectively describing their achievements if they chanced upon their dream employer on the street.

The research indicates we’re so uncomfortable touting our work successes that we’d rather share our political views on social media than let our followers know we received a promotion or got a new job. But being able to sell ourselves without coming across as overly self-promotional is important to succeed in any career. In fact, 86% of recruitment decision makers agree it’s important that candidates can clearly communicate achievements. So how can we overcome this barrier and learn to proudly tell our work story?

Today we released the results of our latest @Work study, an annual global survey that explores generational, cultural, and industry-specific changes in the workplace. This time we looked into attitudes toward sharing professional successes and what we can do to make that great first impression at work. After hearing from professionals in 18 countries, some interesting data emerged:

  • 40% admit it’s difficult to describe what it is they do for a living

  • Only 35% feel confident describing their professional achievements

  • 52% of workers stated they would rather talk about a colleague’s achievements than their own

  • 76% agree it’s difficult to overcome a bad first impression

So why do we hold back? Some 53% of workers admitted they feel like they are bragging. In a world of selfies and sharing what we have for breakfast, it’s strange that we still hold back from shouting about our work achievements. In fact, we’re more likely to share health updates (25%) and political views (23%) on social media than news of a promotion (17%).

Interestingly, 65% of people agree the impression you make online is just as important as the one you make in person. And that’s an area where LinkedIn can help — it’s the perfect place to showcase your professional successes. Here are a few simple steps to help you tell your work story on LinkedIn:

  • PHOTO: Your photo is your virtual handshake, so upload an approachable profile photo that aligns with your role as a professional. Members with a profile photo receive up to 21x more profile views.

  • WORK EXPERIENCE: One of the most important parts of your profile is your job history, including your current position, industry and length of employment. LinkedIn members with current positions receive up to 5x more connection requests. If you’re just entering the workforce, include your education and add a summary of who you are and what you aspire to be.

  • SKILLS: Add five relevant skills and you’ll be messaged up to 31x more by recruiters and other members.

  • LOCATION: More than 30% of recruiters use location when searching for candidates, so make sure to add your location, making it easier for them to find you.

  • SUMMARY: A summary of at least 40 words is more likely to show up in search. Be sure to add a little personality — nearly 87% of recruiters are looking for it!

There’s never been a better time to get comfortable being a little uncomfortable. Telling your #workstory on LinkedIn can help you land your dream job.