One of the areas most job seekers struggle with is how to sell themselves, whether this is on their CV or at interviews. This applies not only to those who are new to the job market or may be lacking in confidence but also our culture impacts on our modesty and our comfort talking about ‘we’ rather than ‘I’. Many sales professionals struggle in this area also; they find it easier to be more objective and sell the merits of their product rather than themselves.
This article will provide top tips on selling ourselves across a variety of areas to help get that job!
The most common mistake people make on their CV is to list their roles rather than what they have accomplished within it. Your CV is your personal marketing and needs to help you stand out from the crowd. Think about successes you had in the role, key contributions you made, over achievement of targets, how your performance was measured and how well you did against it. Accomplishments do not have to be world-changing; you may have improved processes which made efficiencies, saved time or improved accuracy. You may have played a key role supporting a recent system implementation.
Your Linked In Profile
It is common place for most of us to have a profile on Linked In which we can use to be found by recruiters or search for roles ourselves. Whilst your profile should not simply be a cut/paste of your CV, it offers the opportunity for us to include a condensed version of what we have done in each of our roles. Again focus on the main achievements, along with specialities and skills. With these last two points, you can add skills to your Linked In profile and have those in your network endorse you for your strengths on these.
The Interview – The Difficult, Open Ended ‘Sell Yourself’ Questions
These are the ‘why should we hire you over other candidates?’, ‘tell me about yourself’ and ‘what are your strengths and why’ type of questions. Open questions that give the opportunity for us to stand out from the crowd. Think about your response to these types of questions ahead of your interviews, why these are good examples and what they demonstrate about you. You could focus on a specific skill or development opportunity that is pertinent to the role you are interviewing for, you could talk about a specific project you are particularly proud of your contribution on or a personal accomplishment outside of work that demonstrates your key skill areas that may be relevant to the role or company you are talking to (for example, commitment, planning, tenacity, flexibility, thinking on feet, innovation). Be careful not to simply list strengths but also an example that demonstrates these. The responses you give to these types of questions show there is something to know about you and that you believe in yourself.
Stay Away From Your Weaknesses
Be comfortable talking positively about yourself, as much as it may feel unnatural doing so. You know you can do this job, otherwise you would not have applied and you would not have been invited to the interview if the company thought you were not suitable. Even if at interview you are asked what you deem to be your weaknesses, pick one or two areas that you are developing on.
Feeling Confident = Being Confident
If you believe in yourself and portray assurance, others will believe in you. Keep eye contact with your interviewers and be positive. You have good examples to support what you have done in your career and your key skill areas.
Still Not Sure?
An objective opinion can help. Do you have a trusted advisor, a mentor, someone who knows you well professionally? Ask them for their feedback on your strengths and what they perceive your major success areas have been. Often people observe things in us we may not see in ourselves. There are also professional organisations that can offer CV advice and career and interview coaching to help you prepare and put the best foot forward.