Think of the interview as an opportunity for you to be a salesperson, except that in this case, you’re selling yourself — your unique skill set, background, experience and perspective.
Selling yourself in an interview might sound like a lot of hard work, but it’s actually easier thank you might think. Done right, in fact, you can make the decision-making process a whole lot easier for your interviewer, too.
Ready to discover how to sell yourself in an interview? It all starts with the following tips.
highlight your strengths
be the dog that wags its own tail
In most cases, your interviewers will not have an in-depth understanding of your previous experience and accomplishments. This is your opportunity to inform them. You shouldn’t exaggerate, but there’s no reason to be unduly humble, either. Simply state with confidence what you bring to the table — that’s the most effective way to sell yourself.
try not to be a jack of all trades
Why? Because it’s much easier to believe a person who can prove mastery in a single discipline than a person who claims expertise in everything.
connect your conversation to your resume and references
Your resume and references serve as your backups. Think of them as two friends sitting by you in the room, nodding agreement as you detail your accomplishments. The more that you can refer to these documents, the more valid your claims of mastery become to the interviewer.
acknowledge your weakness
- If you sound too good to be true, your interviewer is likely going to assume that in fact you are. Consider how you think about people who only talk about what they do well. Does that person engender trust? Or does that person invite suspicion and skepticism?
acknowledging weaknesses is an effective strategy to bolster your claims of strength.
- If you sound like you can take responsibility for bad decisions or areas in need of improvement, your interviewer is more likely to believe you when you say you do something well.
- Likewise, when interviewers are aware of what’s not in your wheelhouse, that doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage. Rather, if they have a highly precise picture of who you are, the better your odds will be of landing the position.
- Just be smart about acknowledging weaknesses. You should not freely admit that you don't know the latest iteration of an industry standard software package, for example. However, you should be able to identify your own weaknesses so that you can honestly report to your interviewer how you are improving in those areas if you are asked directly about them.
showcase continuous improvement
- “Continuous improvement” may sound like a meaningless buzzword, but if you can convince your interviewer that you take pains to stay on the cutting edge of industry-relevant technology and skills, you’ll put yourself much closer to an offer letter. Every HR person wants to hire employees who take personal responsibility for learning new skills — trust us, visions of lower-cost training, improved performance and greater ROI will be dancing in their heads!
- Sell yourself as a person who is flexible and fundamentally open to learning and development. Every company, regardless of industry, is in need of more people with bona fide leadership potential. Convince your interviewer that you not only advance your own skills, but also the skills of those around you, and you’ll be earmarked a "team player" and “go-getter” before the interview is over.
focus on your ability to hit the ground running.
- If you demonstrate that you can excel in the job from day one, you are whetting the appetite of your interviewer. Think about the hiring process from their perspective: If the interviewer hires someone who is immediately productive, the sooner the organization will see the value of onboarding a new team member. Give your interviewer that opportunity and they’ll be sure to give you yours in turn.
Next step: ask questions