Your impressive resume and glowing recommendations may be enough to land you an interview, but would not be sure to be selected for the job. Once you’re in the hot seat, it’s up to you to really sell yourself to the employer as a best candidate for the job. In a job interview, the way you talk about yourself is a deciding factor in your success.
A job interview is unlike any other form of interaction. The interviewer wants you to communicate what makes you stand out from other candidates. His job is to pick the best candidate. It’s impossible to get a full and complete picture of any human being from a 30-40 minute conversation, so the interviewer has to rely on a limited set of data, present in your CV and what you tell them in the interview.
In many ways, advertising is similar to applying for a job. As marketers, selling brands to consumers, hoping the brand built in the similar fashion as the way it have positioned, and what is said about it will convince consumers to throw it in their shopping cart. Similarly, as a job applicant, you’re selling your personal brand to an employer, hoping they’ll entrust you with the role.
As a result, great candidates often get passed over for people with worse qualifications but better presentation. The good news is that it’s very possible to learn to “sell yourself” in a way that will feel authentic. It’s not about trickery or false representation but it’s about understanding what your key strengths are and being able to communicate them in a concise and compelling way.
READ ALSO: 9 Things Never Say During A Job Interview
Both advertising and applying for a job are all about smart brand-building and the art of persuasion. Want to know how to sell yourself in an interview? These tips will help you to impress the hiring manager and score yourself a new job in no time.
1. Analysis of Requirements
Any good marketer understands the value of market research. Knowing your personal brand is important when evaluating a position or company. Who is your target audience? What are they looking for? What does the competition offer? How can your product solve the customer’s problem and/or improve the customer’s life?
Take a good look at the job description. Where are you a great match? Which of the top requirements do you bring to the table? Can you claim expert status or impressive accomplishments that can separate you from the pack? Does the job align with who I am on both an emotional and rational level? Do the role and the company sync with my strengths and beliefs?
Understand what they are looking for and emphasize how you specifically fit those needs. If not, keep looking. Brand mismatches make for poor chemistry.
2. Be the Solution
Companies fill or create positions because they have problems they want to solve. So prepare for an interview by identifying the problems hinted at in the job ad or research the company and industry.Then, prepare examples detailing how you’ll solve those problems and how you’ve solved similar problems in the past. Practice telling stories about specific results you’ve achieved.
And if you’re interviewing for a career change, keep in mind that many problems such as a lack of effective project management or a breakdown of teamwork are not industry-specific. Offering solutions to these problems is a great way to overcome a lack of directly applicable experience.
3. Be a Storyteller in Interview
Just as it is for brands, storytelling is crucial in an interview. Think of an interview as an opportunity to tell your personal brand story.
Be proactive about what you want to convey in your interview. Based on the analysis conducted in Step 1, you should have a pretty good sense of the key selling points that your interviewer will be most interested in.
Now it’s time to frame these selling points so that you can communicate them concisely and powerfully. Be animated, Be enthusiastic above all, be authentic.
4. Practice Mock Interview Until It Feels Natural
Just like you would practice for an important speech or a big performance, you must practice for your interview. Practicing is especially important for those inclined to modesty. To make sure you can deliver this crucial information in a compelling and natural way, you’ll need to speak those selling points out loud.
This practice will also make you more comfortable with saying positive things about yourself and help you own your strengths in your own voice. Finally, practice will help you with remembering what you want to say even if your nerves act up when the pressure is on in the interview.
5. Be Specific in Interview
Avoid empty clichés. Be prepared to back up your claims about your skills or characteristics with relevant and specific stories. For example, don’t just say you “work well with others”, talk about the types of teams you’ve worked with and what you’ve learned from them. Or if you plan to say you’re “detail-oriented,” come to the interview prepared with a story about how your attention to detail saved former employer money (or otherwise saved the day).
6. Prepare Sound Bites to Sell Yourself
Prepare three or four effective sound bites that highlight your skills and past successes. A sound bite is succinct and direct, so it’s catchy and easy to remember for example, “I’ve designed logos for three Fortune 500 companies” or “My efficiency plan decreased product-delivery times by 15 percent without costing the company a cent.”
When you’re coming up with your sound bites, ask yourself, “What were my greatest accomplishments at my most recent job?” and “What sets me apart from other candidates?”
Your resume and cover letter will likely form an outline for at least part of your interview. Because a resume has to be brief, it probably says many things that could be elaborated on or explained in more detail. Often a resume explains the “what” (for instance, “supervised two people”). Use the interview to talk about the “how,” as well as skills you gained, praise you received and so on.
7. Be Aware of Nonverbal Communication
You say a lot about yourself with nonverbal language: your posture and your facial expressions. Sit up straight during the interview. Leaning forward can make you seem closed off, as can holding a briefcase or purse in your lap. Maintain eye contact when answering interview questions, and smile frequently. Also, practice your handshake with a friend, an overly aggressive handshake can be as off-putting.
8. Be Positive
Avoid complaining about a former employer or laying blame at a former manager’s feet will likely make you seem difficult to work with (or disloyal). Even if you quit your last job in a rage because you had an incompetent manager, saying something like “I felt I was ready for a more challenging position — like this one seems to be” turns a potentially interview-killing situation into something that makes you look very attractive to a hiring manager.
The only people who will be pleased when you throw yourself at them are interviewers who are looking for fearful, self esteem, challenged candidates. Most managers are looking for a person who believes in himself or herself. They want to know that you are confident you can do the job — and confident people do not grovel!
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