When I took a picture of my parents' Harvard diplomas and asked LinkedIn members how to balance humility with self-promotion, I had no idea that over seven million people would view my post! I am grateful for all of the insightful responses! Here’s a summary of themes from the thousands of people who commented:
1) Be respectful. Although my original post showed my parents' diplomas, what resonated with those who commented were the issues of respect and humility. Having a particular degree doesn’t automatically mean a person thinks they are smarter or better, as one person pointed out, but some people have that perception. Out of respect, my parents don’t talk about their degrees unless asked. But—
2) Be honest. In a job search and in life, even the most humble person should be honest about credentials. Why? Because honesty helps other people—potential employers, as well as people in your network—to consider whether you’re a good fit for a particular job. Some people commented that an honest statement of merits isn’t bragging if the other person needs to know.
3) Help others meet their needs. Assess the organization’s needs and where your prospective job fits in. Then show how you can meet those needs. If the job requires a certain degree and you have it, say so. But, as some people were quick to point out, education isnt the only qualification for a job. Persistence, practical skills, diplomacy—show people whatever makes you a good fit for that particular job. Include enough of your personal and work history to show how you fit the need.
I’m grateful for your insights. My takeaway: In work and in life, be respectful, be honest, and focus on meeting the other person’s needs. Thanks for sharing your ideas!