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5 Conversation Cures for Career Advancement

Own your Professional Success with Confidence Minus the Smug

I can’t talk about myself” and “I don’t know how to tell my story” is a common commentary from high-achieving women. And it’s one of the obstacles blocking female career progression.

  • 43% of American women said they would rather give up social media for one week when asked to name something more pleasant than talking about themselves in a room full of strangers.

  • 1,000+ American women surveyed also said they’d rather run errands in the rain (47%) or clean the bathroom (42%). Is it evident women don’t like talking about themselves? The research goes further. 69% of women would rather downplay their success than own it, in conversation and on their resume. 

This kind of hesitancy (dare I say, reluctance) costs in visibility, promotion and securing a next-level role in the job search. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to cozy up to your impact and get comfortable articulating your unique promise of value. If this is a struggle, try one (or all) of these five conversation cures to catalyze your career mobility:

1. Keep Track

We are a forgetful people. I can’t even remember my kids’ birthday at the pharmacy counter! Counteract your short-term memory loss by jotting down your career wins regularly.

Recruiters and hiring managers assess candidates on the proof of performance. They are looking for concrete examples of how you solve problems like the ones they have! 

If you can barely remember (or believe) your impact, you won’t be able to communicate it when it matters. Carve out time to jot your wins down. You can do this digitally or with pen and paper. No matter the method, make sure you are storing your details on a personal device or notebook pages. Unsuspecting layoffs happen to the best of us, so ensure you own your stats with little threat of being locked out of them.

2. See Your Wins As Data

Once you have a record of your impact, take the emotion out of it. View your wins as data. I’m talking metrics around money, time, percentages, and before and after Cinderella stories. Here’s some food for thought to get you started:


  • How have I performed compared to my predecessor in the role? 
  • Prior year(s)/quarter performance?
  • Beat industry averages/standards? 


  • Did I propose or work with a budget of a certain dollar amount?
  • Did I increase sales or profitability? By how much
  • Was I able to reduce expenses?


  • Did I decrease delivery/ turnaround time on a project? How?
  • Did I resolve any issues on a tight timeline? How soon?


  • Did I grow sales, market share, or customer satisfaction? By how much?
  • Did I increase efficiency or productivity by a certain percentage?

Once you’ve nailed down the metrics, separate your feelings about the work to get clear on your impact. It’s hard to argue yourself out of the cold hard facts. 

3. Own Your Impact

Don’t you dare retort: “I’m just part of the team,” “I didn’t do it alone” or “I just led the staff who accomplished it.” Of course, others were involved! Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Own your part and your leadership in it. Honesty? Yes, please be truthful, but accept the work that wouldn’t have been possible if you weren’t there. Here are a few resume bullet examples to demonstrate how you can own your accomplishments with integrity:

  • Championed product reimagination with a new insights-based framework and prototypes across 4 concepts within a 5-member team.
  • Co-wrote accessible software for a uniform customer experience and standardized knowledge base piloted across 500 reps, later approved company-wide for the 3,000-employee workforce.
  • Advanced 10 staff members to internal and external promotions under leadership. 

4. Put On The Friend Mindset

Most women don’t have any issues sharing about their female friends’ success and wins. Heck, I shout them from the social media rooftops! View your wins as you would a friend’s. Share your success stories with humble confidence.

5. Serve Up Your Success

If not for you, do it for others. Think about your achievements to serve others. 83% of women reported they are inspired by other females who share their success and accomplishments, per a 2019 Survey

If reaching your highest potential is your aim, get comfortable owning and articulating your success to stake a claim to your career path.

This piece was authored by Meg Applegate and originally appeared in The CARRY™ ALL, the weekly newsletter for and by working moms. To subscribe to The CARRY™ ALL and connect with CARRY Media™, click here.

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