The 3 P’s to Selling Yourself in an Interview
I hear it time and time again.
- I don’t know how to sell myself in an interview.
- I wasn’t raised that way.
- I was taught to be humble and not talk about myself.
- It’s hard for me to talk about what I am good at.
Does this sound like anyone you know?
What your parents taught you about being humilde is great, EXCEPT when you are trying to get a job! Martyr is not part of your job description unless you are playing one in a J-Lo movie. Loosen those heavy shackles of humility. Leave those lovely teachings at the coat check.
The job search is the time and the place….I’m going to say it….to be CONCEITED. Stop walking into an interview clueless about how to share your abilities and what is so great and special about you. And walk in there like there ain’t no othuh! Walk in there ready to share what we already know about you….That you are the bomba! That your office would fall apart without you because you have implemented protocols that make the office more efficient. That your brain child increased revenue by 25% and alumni participation by 10%. Maybe it’s simpler. You discovered an accounting error and your water cooler company sent your office a $500 refund. These are not minor feats ladies. We are all looking for that extra $500 metaphorically or otherwise. These accomplishments you are so “humble” about prove that you ARE attentive to detail, innovative and entrepreneurial and that you desire to work in a place that runs like a well oiled machine. That is music to any hiring agent’s ears. So sing it loud and proud.
Unfortunately your best girlfriend at work cannot be at the interview with you to tell the search committee how fabulous you are. So guess what? (Cue the telenovela music.) You have to do it yourself. Pero como? But how you ask?
Here is some advice for walking into an interview ready to sell yourself and prove to the hiring committee that no one can do the job but you.
There is no substitute for preparation. We research the colleges and universities we are interested in. We know their missions and the names and titles of the interviewers. Now prepare by researching yourself. Yes. Who knows better than you what you do at work. Make a list of your accomplishments since you started at your current job. Ask yourself the following?
- How is this place better since I got here?
- Can I quantify or assess any of that goodness?
- How do I put that into a few winning talking points?
Practice makes perfect. You know it’s true because that’s how you get your eyeliner so perfectly straight. Practice with that best girlfriend from work. But then practice with someone at work who you trust but doesn’t know you so personally. If you are not ready to share about your job search, ask a neighbor, a friend, or email me. I’ll practice with you and I won’t hold back. Allow whomever helps you to give you true, constructive feedback. Do not pick someone who is just going to tell you what you want to hear. Take the critique, go back to those notes and adjust the talking points. Then KEEP PRACTICING. Don’t forget to give your practice coach a thank you note when you get the job.
WHAT? Pon-tif-i-cate. To express one’s opinion in a way that is pompous and dogmatic. Go light on the pompous but go heavy on the dogmatic.
WHAT? Dog-ma-tic. Expressing personal opinions or beliefs as if they are certainly correct and cannot be doubted.
Bingo! You mean do what every man has ever done to get the job you could do with your eyes closed? Yea, that. Next time you sit in on a job search note the way women interview versus men. Most men will leave you thinking you need to fire the boss and hire them instead. Don’t be mad at them. Learn from their approach.
Now let’s say you do this and you still don’t get the job. You’ll be cursing me all the way to the subway. Maybe. But I don’t care. You go back and do it again. Listen, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a good and satisfying career. So just because you didn’t get that job, doesn’t mean you won’t get the next one. It just means it was that job’s loss.