Here at Churchill Education HQ, we begin each new year full of excitement about what our past, present and future students will be achieving in the next twelve months. Many of you will be applying for jobs in 2017 with your new qualifications in hand. Exciting! But, jobs don't always go to the best person. They go to the person who is best at selling themselves.
Ugh. Does the thought of self-promotion make you cringe?
Fear not! There are ways to demonstrate your worth to potential employers without feeling or sounding egotistical.
Read on for our top three tips about how to sell yourself without selling your soul.
Sell yourself without selling your soul: How to showcase yourself and your attributes without being obnoxious...
We love hearing about where your paths have taken you following your qualifications, or even while you've still been studying. We often hear about students being offered jobs while they're on placement and others who find that studying has opened doors they never even knew existed!
We understand that taking the first step into the world of work with your new qualification can be daunting, though. You know you now have the skills and ability you need to perform in a certain role, but you also have to communicate that belief to others.
Getting what you want in your career requires the ability to sell yourself, which is something a lot of us find hard! Have you heard of the Tall Poppy Syndrome? We can be pretty hard on people if we think they're tooting their own horn a bit much. But, recruiters aren't mind readers. In your online profile, resume, cover letter and in interviews, you need to be able to tell potential employers why they should hire you.
You need to be clear and positive about your strengths, and what you would bring to the table. What's more, you need to demonstrate that you'd be more of an asset to them than other candidates, and you need to do all of this without sounding insufferably arrogant!
1. Build your interview skills.
Practise with a friend so you become used to talking about yourself and your work. Over time, you'll come up with language to frame your experience that you feel comfortable with and can say without hesitation.
For example, instead of saying 'I'm very good at managing other people,' you could say, 'I found it really rewarding when I figured out the best way to motivate my team and improve our output.'
This suggests that you're humble enough to understand the importance of learning and you're committed to keep trying to improve your skills. It also shows that you took responsibility for your team and results, that you put effort into finding the best way to do it and derived satisfaction from getting it right.
2. Be prepared.
Highlighting your skills and achievements is only one part of selling yourself. The way that you conduct yourself during an interview is just as important, and says just as much about you. Showing that you're prepared and organised is vital, and will always earn points in your favour.
So, do your research. Know the company and their performance, and think about some questions you could ask that are insightful, pertinent and informed. Show up on time, looking your best, and have readily available copies of references, work samples or anything else they have asked for. Remember not to bad-mouth previous employers or working environments. These things demonstrate that you have integrity and are respectful, both important aspects of high employee performance.
3. Show don't tell.
Don't just say that you're a good team player. Instead, produce some supporting material (like an outline of a project you worked on with a breakdown of results) or give an example that illustrates how you were an effective member of a team on a specific occasion.
You might find it handy to think about this in terms of the CAR strategy - Circumstances, Action and Results. Describe the challenge of the situation you were in (the circumstances), explain what you did to address the challenge (the action) and what the positive outcome was (the results).
Example of CAR method:
Instead of saying 'I'm very good at making things more efficient,' you could say something like:
'The department had trouble processing customers because data had to be entered in several different places, by several different people. This was so time-consuming that customers got frustrated and left. I designed a new program that imported all the necessary data into one live spreadsheet and trained all staff how to use it correctly. We improved on our customer conversions by 18% in the first week of the new spreadsheet being implemented.'
This clearly shows that you can back up your claim with substance.
Now that you've read these tips, we hope you feel a bit better about your ability to sell yourself without selling your soul. You've worked hard to get qualified, now go out and get the job you deserve!