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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Humble Brag (Just right for cover letters)

There are probably just as many interpretations of what this term means as there are people who are able to blow their own horns while sounding humble.  However you pull this off, you've got bragging rights.

And you've got power, for the humble brag is a sound and persuasive approach to writing cover letters that reinterpret the facts that tell the story of your professional life on the resume.

The humble brag can come to life in many forms and is different from the simple humble response of downplaying any reason for praise.

Scenario:  "You rescued that woman from a burning building!"

The humble response:  "I was in the right place at the time when she needed me. I was glad I could be useful."

Consider the same scenario, but no one knows you rescued a woman from a burning building.

The humble brag is uttered when no one asks the question:  "I'm sorry I am late to work this morning.  I happened to witness a house fire, and was able to pull a woman and her baby out, but that detour has made me late for work. It won't happen again."

You get the idea.  The brag is tucked inside other information that is also relevant.

Think about the dynamic called the humble brag the next time you need to write a fresh cover letter for a job application or when you send off your resume. Rather than begin each sentence in the letter with the word "I"--nothing humble about that repetition--look for ways to begin your sentences with some action, and then humbly include the news that you think is relevant to the job's criteria, and which you deftly claim you can handle.

For more about how to use a story inside a cover letter, see the following entry:
http://professionalwritingforeveryone.blogspot.com/2010/08/why-strong-anecdotes-matter-in-business.html


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