LinkedIn’s ultimate guide to achieving your career goals

When we sit down for a job interview, we’re often careful not to reveal too much about ourselves.

No one wants to come off as a braggart, and the last thing we’d want to seem is egotistical, right? So we keep a low profile and decide not to unravel the scroll of achievements.

Lo and behold, someone else gets the job. Could our modesty be getting in the way of our careers?

LinkedIn conducted a study surveying 2,000 people, that produced some revealing statistics about the way people in the UK (women in particular) view their careers. It turns out 34 per cent of women shy away from talking about their own achievements in interviews and job reviews, and as many as 43 per cent admit to feeling uncomfortable when networking with people they don’t know.

Don’t think that’s too bad? Let’s compare with the boys, of whom only 29 per cent are over-humble and 33 per cent (that’s 10 per cent less than us gals) don’t like networking with strangers.

The worst part? We totally know we’re doing it. 56 per cent of women believe they’ve been overlooked for a promotion because of modesty.

‘As a nation we’re naturally modest, but women shouldn’t let that get in the way of their careers. Knowing how to showcase your achievements doesn’t mean bragging; it’s an invaluable skill for getting ahead at work. And the same rules apply online,’ says LinkedIn’s Ngaire Moyes.

51 per cent of participants admitted to not having a career plan, and 58 per cent felt they were in the wrong industry.

To the team at LinkedIn, this was beginning to look like a real problem.

‘Half the people we surveyed don’t have a career plan – but it doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating,’ Moyes said. ‘We want to motivate people to take control and show how easy it can be.’

So Moyes and the team decided to take matter into their own hands and start changing the way we think about advancing our careers, by coming up with five clever tips to help you achieve your own career goals.

1. Have a plan 

To be fulfilled at work, you first need to decide what you want from your career – what are you passionate about, and what’s going to get you out of bed in the morning? Once you’ve got an end goal in mind, it’s much easier to prioritise the connections you need to make, and the skills you need to develop, to get there.

2. Plot your path 

Looking at people’s careers that you admire can help you plot your own career path. Whether it’s Richard Branson or your boss, use LinkedIn to look at the path that they took – this will help you sketch out your own career “to do” list.

3. Do your research 

Whether you’re networking on or offline, the same golden rule applies – do your research. If you know who’s attending an event, for example, you can come armed with conversation starters, likewise having a bit of background on the people you’re networking with online can help you tailor your patter.

4. Big up without bragging 

To show your skills without showing off, be selective. You don’t need to mention everything you’ve ever done on your CV, LinkedIn profile or in job interviews. Cherry-pick your best achievements, and make sure you’ve got tangible examples to back them up. Finding a colleague to endorse you can also be incredibly useful.

5. Make sure both your on and offline personas match

Employers are increasingly checking out candidates online as part of the hiring process. The online world is your career “shop window”, so make sure your profiles are up to date and engaging.

Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.

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