Job interview tips: how to sell yourself without being a salesman

Job interview tips: how to sell yourself without being a salesman

Unless you’re a natural-born marketer with the gift of the gab, most of us struggle with the concept of ‘selling ourselves’ in a job interview.

If you’ve made it to the interview stage it’s because your resume demonstrates you’re equipped with the skills and experience to take on the role. Your success, then, is determined by how well you talk about yourself in the interview, and that’s the tricky part.

The good news is you can learn to ‘sell yourself’ in a way that feels authentic and not like you’re channelling your inner salesman. Here are a few tips to help you blitz the interview and land the role.

1. Practice your answers

Just as you’d prepare for a speech or performance, you need to thoroughly prepare for your job interview. By looking at the job description, you can anticipate the types of questions you’ll be asked. Prepare a few examples of how you meet the criteria, and practice saying them until they feel natural.

A great tip for those who are exceptionally shy is to practice your answers in front of the family dog. Your pooch will be all too happy to hear and encourage you for as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable and memorise a few good examples.

2. Straighten-up, look sharp

You say a lot about yourself through your body language alone. Something as simple as sitting straight, looking someone in the eye when you’re talking to them and smiling can go a long way in projecting a confident, professional and agreeable demeanour.

In terms of your outfit, it’s important you strike a balance between dressing up to suit the role and also wearing clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.

3. Explain how you’re a problem-solver

Companies hire people and create new roles to solve problems – perhaps their marketing campaigns are poorly performing, they’re replacing an ineffective team leader, or they need help with increasing revenue and decreasing expenditure, for example.

Instead of simply stating you’re ‘attentive to detail’, give an example of a time where you spotted a detail that ended up saving the employer’s reputation or money. Giving a specific example, instead of a verbose listing of unproved attributes, will come across as genuine and be easier for you to say with confidence.

4. Quote someone’s opinion of you

You may feel uncomfortable tooting your own horn, so instead you could mention how your manager said ‘you were excellent at stakeholder relations’ and often specifically invites you into stakeholder meetings. Quoting someone else’s comments about you also gives validity to your claim – so long as it’s truthful. It also helps you talk about yourself without feeling like you’re bragging.

5. Think of the interview in a different way

Instead of thinking of the job interview as a test you need to charm your way through, consider it as an opportunity to see if your expectations and desired environment align with what’s on offer. Enquire about about the management style, the compensation plan, the office environment and of course the intricacies of what the job entails and whether, ultimately, you think it’s a place where you can flourish – rather than just get a pay check.

If you consider the interview as a two-way street where you’re both determining fit, it takes the pressure off thinking you have to ‘sell yourself’ for a job that may not meet your needs. Come armed with questions about the role, the team and the company. Not only will this help you decide if this role is for you, but it’ll also demonstrate you’ve really thought hard about this position and know what you want.

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