Interviews can be a daunting experience for both you as the applicant and for the hiring manager.
It’s scary when you know that you really need to sell yourself if you’re going to land that job, especially if you don’t know the first thing about selling yourself. However, as long as you’re well prepared for the conversation you’re about to have, those pre-interview jitters can be kept to a minimum.
In this article, we’re going to cover 10 top tips for selling yourself during an interview, so you can nail that next meeting and succeed at securing your dream job.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 actionable tips that you can use to dive into your next interview and make yourself the most appealing candidate for a job by leaps and bounds.
Let’s start off with our first tip.
The first step to selling anything, including yourself as a candidate, is to know exactly what it is your audience or buyer is looking for.
In this case, your audience is the recruiter or hiring manager.
Here’s what you need to do:
Research the company, review their website, and try to get an understanding of their overall mission.
Review the job description and/or the listing you applied for. It’s often the case that they’ll list the key attributes they are looking for in an employee.
Before you apply for the new job, consider calling ahead and asking what kind of experience and characteristics they are looking for to fill this role.
Knowing first what your prospective manager is looking for in an employee will give you the ability to demonstrate how you exhibit those qualities.
Once you’ve gathered that information and know what your potential employers are looking for, it’s time to prepare a few speaking points that talk to those desired skills and attributes.
It’s natural to feel a little uncomfortable talking about how great you are, but this is a situation where self-promotion is 100% called for.
Remember, they won’t know what you don’t tell them.
For each characteristic or skill that they are looking for, try to identify at least one way in which you can show that you’re a good fit.
For example, let’s say that the job ad mentions they are looking for a team player.
Can you think of a time when you sacrificed your own personal gain to help out a colleague? Maybe you took on a little extra work when a teammate was sick so that the team didn’t fall behind. Talk that up.
Speaking out about your skills and positive attributes can be difficult, but it’s important to project confidence in an interview. It gives you a better shot at landing the job.
That confidence comes from practice.
Prepare a list of common job interview questions, and practice answering them while weaving in some facts about yourself that speak to what they are looking for.
You can do this on your own or with a friend, colleague, or family member.
If you decide to practice by yourself, try speaking in front of a mirror or camera and watch for positive body language and eye contact.
Many job seekers find that the most challenging part of the job interview is speaking in front of other people, especially those you’ve never met before.
The common concern is often, “What happens if I mess up or say the wrong thing?”
The best way to avoid this situation, and to become comfortable with making mistakes, is to practice with and get some feedback from someone you trust to be honest with you.
The reason you want to practice with an honest friend is that they’ll have the ability to call out things you might not have realized, such as overusing a buzzword or cringeworthy clichés.
They can also help you get back on track if you start to ramble.
Plus, they’ve probably been there before since most people will hold 12 or more jobs in their lifetime.
Your resume is a crucial part of your job search; it probably helped you land the interview in the first place, and some of the most common interview questions are related to your resume.
For example, a recruiter might ask you to give an example to illustrate a quality that your resume states you have, or they may ask some questions about your work experience.
Before you head into your next job interview, make sure you know exactly what is on your resume, and be sure that you can back up any claims you’ve made about yourself as an employee.
When dressing for an interview, you want to keep it simple, classy, and clean.
Here’s a brief guide:
Part of selling yourself in an interview is detailing some of your previous achievements.
When doing this, try to avoid generic statements such as “I served more customers than my team members.”
Where possible, back a statement like this up with some numbers.
For example, you might say, “Most of my colleagues would see 30 customers a day, but I consistently served at least 35.”
This helps your interviewer get more perspective and gives them more trust in what you’re saying.
In a similar vein, you should be prepared to back up your claims with specific examples of your past successes.
Even if you aren’t coming right out and saying, “I’ve had a lot of successes in my past jobs,” you can probably expect that one of your interview questions will be: “Can you tell me about a time you felt really successful in a previous job?”
Come prepared for the interview with at least one scenario, and aim to be able to describe:
What the situation was
The part you played in it
Why it went well
How you felt about it
If you’re feeling a little uncomfortable talking about how great you are, a helpful technique is to draw on things that colleagues or managers have said about you.
For example, you can say: “My boss always tells me that I’m one of the most valued people on the sales team.”
It’s very likely that your interviewer is going to end with something like:
“So, do you have any questions for me?”
It’s always a good idea to at least have a couple of questions at the ready. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in the role.
Here are a few good examples:
What is your favorite part about working here?
What does your onboarding process look like?
What can I expect from the first three months if I’m successful?
By this point, you should be feeling much more confident and prepared to sell yourself in your next job interview.
Let’s quickly recap on our 10 top tips:
Learn as much as you can about what they are looking for in an employee
Prepare some points to discuss that speak to this need
Practice until you feel comfortable
Get feedback from someone you know and trust
Know your resume inside and out
Dress well for the interview to make a good impressions
Put numbers to your achievements where possible
Have some examples of your successes ready
Use what other people have said about you to highlight your skillset
Prepare some questions for your interview to show you’re interested
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