Gilby’s Guidance #12

Job Description: Ability To Blow Your Own Trumpet


Talking about yourself is seen as a negative personality trait across the board. Boasting and general self-involvement is something I avoid at all costs and avoid anyone who doesn’t feel the need to do the same.

Then, all of a sudden, I am told that an extenuation of the characteristics I have moulded myself to avoid is what is going to get me places. I need to be able to talk about myself at great lengths, highlighting what I am particularly good at and what I have done that is particularly good. Why would someone want us to display such a trait in order to reward us with a job? What happened to the value of modesty?

At a graduate convention I went to recently, whilst in a talk about how to successfully fill out an application, I was told about the importance of ‘selling myself’. The man who was taking the talk mentioned how the British were renowned for being particularly bad at talking themselves up in such situations. According to him, American’s were taught to be good at talking about themselves from a young age, which made me think, why isn’t it inherent in us Brits to be good at selling ourselves? Once we’ve got to the stage where we are going for interviews and handing in applications, it might be too late to learn.

The idea of being able to sell myself based on my bragging skills has become so repellent to me that I’m beginning to feel like I wouldn’t want a job that would place so much importance on something so artificial. I wouldn’t want to be ‘one of those people’, even if it did get me the job I wanted. If you gain a position based on your modified-interview-self, who could guarantee that the job wouldn’t change you into this?

I have always assumed that modesty would win the race. I naively believed that nice employers would see through the egos and give the underdog a chance. Something that only occurred to me recently is that the people who are in the position to employ could be ‘those kind of people’. The ruthless impressers, the ignorant boasters, looking for people who are going to be able to climb the ladder in the same way that they did.

At a time in my life when I feel like I’m getting to grips with what I stand for, it’s difficult to be told that it’s all well and good until you get in to an interview. Say what you have to say, do what you have to do etc etc. I for one won’t be adhering to the application personality transplant, wonder who’ll close the deal?

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