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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 01-Jul-11

 


Friday 01-July-11

Is showing qualifications boasting?

A dilemma for people with qualifications is whether to flaunt them or not. Should you put them on your business card? Should you put certificates on your office wall? How about in your email signature?

At least for therapists there is an answer here. Ann Devlin and colleagues showed students a photo of a therapist's office, which either had bare walls or certificates on the wall. The students rated the therapist with the certificates on show as more skilful, experienced, better-trained, and more authoritative, and also as more friendly, kinder, welcoming, congenial and interested in clients. More certificates seems better, as therapists with four or nine certificates were rated as more proficient than those with just two, and those with nine were thought most dynamic.

Research has also shown that the best place in interviews to boast about your achievements is near the end. This shows you as modest and also elicits the recency effect, making it more likely that your modesty and skill will be remembered.

In other circumstances, it is probably best to follow the current norms. In the last place I worked, nobody put their qualifications in their email signature. In the current place they do. I have eight sets of letters after my name (I'm an inveterate student), but few people put more than four, so I did likewise.

Reference:
Devlin, A., Donovan, S., Nicolov, A., Nold, O., Packard, A., & Zandan, G.(2009). “Impressive?” Credentials, family photographs, and the perception of therapist qualities. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29 (4), 503-512


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