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How To Speak About Your Accomplishments With Humility

Successfully answering questions in an interview certainly requires tact.  While employers want to learn about your professional achievements, they also want to ensure that you are a cultural fit for the organization and the team you could be joining.  As a result, you want to be sure that your interviewer grasps the value of your accomplishments, and subsequently, your value to their team.  However, you also want to avoid sounding like someone who can’t work with others or throws team members under the bus.

Consequently, this means that you not only need to communicate your success and value, but you also need to convey that you are grounded and grateful for your opportunities—a difficult line to walk.  Even in situations where you’ve done all or most of the work, you still need to find ways to prove that you are a team player who gives credit where it’s due.  When you find it difficult to maintain this balance, use these strategies to place the focus on positive aspects of your work:

Express your excitement

When describing your accomplishments, accurately expressing your excitement for an opportunity can convey a positive attitude to the interviewer.  For example, if you pushed to get a project started or finished early because of your enthusiasm, this shows the employer that you are passionate about your work, and you take initiative.  As a result, your eagerness and motivation for excellent work can form a more positive impression.

Avoid unnecessary details

When you’re explaining a story with details that aren’t necessary, this can give your interviewer ample opportunity to read between the lines.  For example, if you stated in passing that you stayed in the office all night to work on finishing a project by yourself, the interviewer might think that you are boasting about how late you worked or that you are still holding a grudge toward the other employees.  Instead, by simply saying that you worked extra to finish the project, you can communicate your dedication without delving into unnecessary elements.

Name all contributors

When talking about other coworkers that contributed to a project, be sure that you mention even the smallest involvement with gratitude.  If you worked alone, perhaps mention the supervisor who approved the project.  In this simple acknowledgement, you can prove to your potential employer that you are aware and appreciative of everyone’s contribution—the simplest way to show that you’re a team player.

Focus on results

Keep in mind that employers really want to know what you’ve achieved through your work.  By telling your interviewer what you’ve actually accomplished, you can give them a better idea of whether you can achieve similar results for their company.  Accordingly, place as much emphasis on the end result as you do with the work that went into the process.  This proves that you are driven to achieve results rather than working hard for the sake of working hard.

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