Most times, you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it. Other times, you might be doing it because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. After all, no one wants to come across as arrogant or obnoxious. But, the reality is, whenever you sell yourself short, you’re subtly sabotaging your career opportunities and communicating to others that you don’t value yourself as much as you should.
But, how do you stop if you don’t even realize you’re doing it? Here are 13 signs that you might be selling yourself short in your career: You don’t negotiate salary offers because you think you should be grateful. – You’re asking for too much by negotiating a higher salary. You don’t believe you’re worth more than what you’re offered. After all, you already feel lucky to be there.
You lowball yourself when applying for jobs. – Even though you know you’re ready to take your career to the next level and know you’re qualified for the roles you want, you keep applying to jobs you don’t want because you think they’re easier to get.
You downplay your experience in interviews because you don’t want to come across as if you’re bragging. – Instead of telling stories, giving examples, and painting a clear picture of your experience, you downplay what you can do and hope your resume speaks for you.
You see your experience as boring and uninteresting, while others find your career interesting. – While others see your experience as diverse, you see your experience as inferior simply because it’s different. Especially if you’re looking to make a career change, you disqualify yourself from jobs instead of leveraging the unique experience you do have.
You’re constantly overthinking and assuming the worst outcome. – You struggle with putting yourself out there in your job search and at work, and when you do, you assume you’ll be rejected or that things won’t work in your favor.
You don’t share your ideas in meetings because you don’t think they’re worth sharing. – You assume that other people will think your ideas are not good enough, so you don’t bother speaking up because you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
You prefer to just go with the flow at work and rarely advocate for yourself. – You think speaking up for yourself means stepping on someone’s toes. You’d rather make sure everyone else is comfortable, even if that means glossing over your needs.
You’re always assuming other job candidates are better than you instead of acknowledging what you bring to the table. – You’re always worried about the competition whenever you apply for jobs or go into interviews. You’re always assuming that other people are more deserving of the opportunities you want without acknowledging your value and accomplishments.
You avoid sharing your accomplishments and talking about yourself. – You cringe whenever people ask you about yourself, and you would much rather spend an entire conversation talking about the other person.
You deflect whenever someone gives you compliments and praise. – Whenever someone gives you compliments, instead of just saying thank you, you find a way to downplay yourself or change the topic.
You turn down opportunities that are scary but exciting out of fear that you’ll fail. – You rarely go after promotions or new jobs because you automatically assume someone else will get it. Whenever you’re presented with a new opportunity that seems challenging, you turn it down or recommend someone else.
You assume all of your accomplishments happened by chance. – You brush off your accomplishments and assume you got lucky. You mistakenly think your skills are not valuable because you’re naturally good at them. You assume that because certain skills are easy for you, they’re not worth mentioning or celebrating.
You’ve convinced yourself to stay at a job that makes you unhappy because you think it’s the best you can do. – You think that you’re lucky to be where you are, even though you’re unhappy there. You don’t believe better opportunities are waiting for you or assume that you’re not capable of repeating your success elsewhere.
So, how do you stop selling yourself short? Underneath every one of these signs are a lack of belief in oneself and an inflated belief in others. When you sell yourself short, you’re typically assuming the worst-case scenario for yourself. Yet, it takes the same amount of effort to assume the worst as it does to assume the best. For example, in meetings, instead of assuming that people will think your ideas are a waste of time, what if you assume that your colleagues will be relieved to hear your ideas? Or, instead of assuming that your job applications will get rejected and that you’ll look silly if you put yourself out there, what if you assume that recruiters will be excited to read about your experience and eager to speak to you?
Ultimately, there is no way to determine what will happen unless you try but, at the very least, assuming the best helps you move forward. Lastly, know that you can be humble and confident. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Believing in your value and knowing you’re good at what you do does not make you arrogant; it makes you trustworthy, and communicating that trust is how you take your career to the next level.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide. Originally published at Forbes
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