When you’re invited to interview for a job, it is important to present yourself in a way that highlights your professionally desirable skills, experiences and attributes. While many people are aware of the need to “sell yourself” to a potential employer, it can be challenging to put this idea to practice when preparing for an interview. This article explains the concept of selling yourself and provides tips on how to craft an image and story that can increase your appeal to a hiring manager.
What is selling yourself in an interview?
Selling yourself in an interview means taking steps to convince the hiring manager that you would be a valuable company asset. When you meet an interviewer, make it a goal to present yourself as the best person for the job. Imagine yourself as a marketer or salesperson, and the product you need to convince a client to buy is you.
How to sell yourself in a job interview
When aiming to sell yourself in a job interview, it is crucial to prepare and practice ahead of time. In addition to standard practices, such as researching the company, developing a strong resume and securing references, here are four steps you can take to convince a hiring manager that working with you is the wisest decision for their company:
- Get comfortable talking about yourself.
- Tailor yourself to meet company needs.
- Practice your talking points.
- Distinguish yourself from the competition.
1. Get comfortable talking about yourself
Give yourself permission to talk about yourself positively and to take pride in your accomplishments. You can practice this skill before the interview by talking into a mirror, asking a friend to listen or just talking out loud to yourself while you’re doing another task.
One technique that can help you get comfortable talking about yourself is putting metrics with your achievements. Make a list of specific things you achieved, like how much money you saved on a project, the percentage by which you reduced staff turnover over a certain period of time or exactly how much sales increased under your leadership. This will add a level of objectivity to your statements.
Another way to get comfortable speaking about yourself is to project confidence during your interview. A confident attitude will show the potential employer that you know you are a good fit for the position. You can appear confident through your tone of voice and body language, and you will feel more confident the more prepared you are.
2. Tailor yourself to meet company needs
One of the most important sales tactics is to know your customer. In the case of selling yourself for an interview, it is vital that you understand the potential employer’s needs and desires to the best of your ability. Read the job description, investigate the company’s history and learn about its corporate culture. Ask yourself, “What does the company need from someone in this role?” After developing your answer, be sure to craft your answers to common interview questions in a way that showcases your understanding of their position and your unique ability to fulfill their needs.
3. Plan your talking points
Write down exactly how you are the best candidate, choosing words that align with the qualities the employer is seeking. Memorize your main points so you can discuss them naturally. Preparation and practice will help you to sell yourself smoothly in your interview.
One way to practice your talking points is to develop a 30-second elevator speech about yourself. You can create a personal summary by combining the key highlights of your experience in 25 words or less. Your goal here is to stay on topic and make every word count. One possible structure for your speech is an introduction followed by career objectives and accomplishments that set you apart from other candidates. For maximum impact, keep your audience in mind, and avoid vague terms like loyalty, courteousness and kindness unless you can relate them directly to the job.
If your industry uses portfolios, consider taking advantage of this tool to demonstrate your talents. A well-organized display of your accomplishments can help you remember your talking points and showcase your professional skills.
4. Distinguish yourself from the competition
Try to ask questions that show you have researched the company in advance. You might ask about the company’s products or plans for the future. Consider tactfully sharing something positive about your experience with the company as a consumer, if you can. You could even present some ideas for a new product or service. Hiring managers may interview dozens of people for a position, so try to make them remember you in a professional way that stands out.
To apply these tips appropriately, consider the position you are applying for and your qualifications as you begin. You will find that advanced preparation helps you to relax as you begin your interview.