How do you master the art of self-promotion – presenting yourself as the best candidate, sharing your strengths and convincing a prospective employer of your value – without sounding conceited or arrogant?
You need to make yourself stand out, possibly among hundreds of applicants and several candidates selected for interviews. There will be similarities between your education, skills and experience and theirs. Hiring managers need differentiators that will drive their final selection. It’s critical to strike the right balance: Advocate for yourself and convince your interviewers that you’re the right match without crossing a line into shameless self-adulation.
Show versus Tell
Demonstrating the use of a skill or attribute goes much further than simply telling someone you possess it.
- Avoid starting sentences with “I” and don’t use “I am” phrases. This is unsupported self-praise. It’s not true just because you say it is – and interviewers know this.
- Instead, provide specific details to show how your abilities have been successfully applied. Instead of saying, “I led a team that built revenue,” say “My team of engineers found efficiencies in assembly equipment that resulted in savings of $5 million and helped generate $10 million in new revenue.” Responses like this are far more valuable than blanket statements.
Keep it Relevant
Talk about the right things. Make sure the examples you use and narratives you share are relevant to the job.
- Familiarize yourself with the job description ahead of time. The point of self-promotion is not to garner praise, but rather to demonstrate your value to an employer. Even if a skill or achievement is remarkable, it’s only valuable if it relates to the position and/or what you can contribute to the organization.
- Listen carefully to questions. This will help you answer accurately, calmly and concisely.
- Keep it simple. If you constantly use high-level words and phrases not common to everyday speech, your interviewer will think your responses are irrelevant. Being prepared is good, but looking like you’ve rehearsed stock answers and impressive sounding verbiage is not. Anything that suggests you’re less than spontaneous makes it look like you’re trying to trick the interviewer.
- Be concise. A little goes a long way. Keep your responses short and your examples to the point. Your goal is to start a productive conversation, so be careful not to ramble.
- Be yourself. Answer questions as honestly and candidly as possible. Don’t be intimidated. Take a breath before responding, and find your inner confidence. It’s gotten you this far. Now you just need to seal the deal!
Bring Your Portfolio
It may not apply to every job or even every field, but if appropriate, create a portfolio supporting your work. Bring it to your interviews or even better, provide it ahead of time. You’ll have an easier time of selling yourself when hiring managers can see for themselves what you can do.
Interviewing finesse can be tricky, but it’s like any other professional skill. With coaching, practice and experience, you’ll soon be a natural.
Read our related posts or contact Contemporary Personnel Staffing and Professionals Incorporated today to learn more about career coaching and related interview and job search techniques.