How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview

How to Sell Yourself in an Interview | Examples |

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Before every job interview, you may wonder how best to convey your professional skills and abilities. After all, out of dozens (maybe hundreds) of applicants, you were chosen to meet with the interviewer to further gauge whether you’d be a good fit for the company. Learn more about why it’s important to understand how to sell yourself in an interview by following the tips and examples in this article.

Why should you sell yourself in an interview?

The reason why you should ‘sell’ or self-promote yourself during an interview is that doing so gives your potential employer a good first impression regarding your skills, abilities, experience and overall personality.

How to sell yourself in an interview

Follow these steps to sell your experience and skills:

1. First, dress for success

What you choose to wear to a job interview factors into the employer’s overall impression of you. That’s why it’s important to dress cleanly and professionally, even if the company dress code is more casual. Save the casual days for later, when you’ve been hired. During your interview, wear business clothes in neutral colors and keep accessories to a minimum. Well-groomed hair and nails enhance your look of professionalism.

2. Second, display confidence

Appearing confident during an interview is often more challenging than you think, especially if you feel uncomfortable talking about yourself. The fact is, you’re interviewing for a job that has other candidates you’re competing against. If there ever was a time that you needed to put aside your fears and be brave, it’s now. Internalize your worries during the interview and project self-confidence by smiling, making eye contact and speaking well.

3. Third, pay attention to your body language and word choices

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when our bodies are giving negative signals. That’s why it’s important to be aware of body language that may compromise your chances of getting hired. Avoid slumping down in your chair, fidgeting or looking around the room or at the floor instead of straight at the interviewer. This makes the impression that you’re uninterested in the job. Good posture, eye contact and a firm handshake show that you’re engaged in the interview and truly want the job. When speaking, avoid saying ‘um’ and ‘like,’ as it often associated with immaturity.

4. Fourth, practice your responses

It’s highly likely that you’ll need to give an elevator pitch or a summary explaining who you are and what you’ve accomplished in the past. The best way to deliver this information in a polished way is by practicing what you’ll say ahead of time. Also, do some research as to what type of questions you may be asked and practice your responses to those questions. Prepare a few meaningful anecdotes that help.

5. Fifth, try to imagine yourself as the interviewer

Research the company you’re interviewing before your arrival to get a feel for its culture. Interviewers want to hire people who meet their requirements, possess great skills and fit in with their current employees. Think about the type of person they’d want to hire, then study the job listing and imagine yourself in that role. Deliver what the interviewer wants to hear and see to increase your chances of getting hired.

6. Sixth, describe your achievements using metrics

When explaining why you’d be a good fit for the company, make sure you reference your past accomplishments with specific numbers. For instance, if you helped your last company find new clients, specify how many and in what amount of time. While mentioning any time-related accomplishments, mention how much time and money your efforts helped the company save. Interviewers like to hear percentages and numbers because it shows you know how to produce actionable results and how those results benefit the company.

7. Finally, ask smart questions

Even though the interviewer will be asking most of the questions, he or she will likely give you time to ask yours. Write down some unique questions ahead of time so you’re prepared to receive the right information. Consider which questions’ answers would be most beneficial for you to know. Showing that you took the time to thoughtfully prepare questions shows your dedication to success.

Examples of interview questions and answers that sell yourself

Here are some common questions that interviewers may ask you along with the corresponding answers:

What are your biggest strengths?

Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how well your skills and attributes align with the job position your applying for. Before the interview, create a list of your strengths and how they support the desired position. Think about how your traits, transferrable skills (learned from previous jobs) and knowledge-based skills (gained from formal education and experience) have shaped who you are and what you have to offer.

Example: ‘I have many strengths that help me be successful at work. First, I have a strong work ethic that drives me to meet deadlines well ahead of schedule. I enjoy feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing a job well and on time. Second, I am passionate about what I do, which makes me feel happy when I’m working. Third, I have extensive experience managing a team of writers over the past five years and feel that it will help me lead the creative team here.’

What are your biggest weaknesses?

While it may seem daunting to discuss anything negative about yourself in a positive way, there are ways to do this that show you’ve overcome these challenges or that you’re aware of your weaknesses and plan to strengthen them.

Example: ‘I am such a detail-oriented person that I sometimes have a hard time seeing the big picture. I have learned to step back and reevaluate project goals. Sometimes, this means making revisions to our current assets. But I’ve noticed that the best work I’ve produced has been the result of a group effort that has been refined to better meet our brand image.’

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Interviewers ask this question when they want to understand your career goals and how the particular position you’re applying for fits into your five-year plan. They also want to ensure they’re hiring someone who plans to stick around for a while so they don’t have to go through the time-consuming hiring process again. Try to answer truthfully while not being too specific.

Example: ‘In five years, I’d like to build upon my current skill set and learn how to do some design work, which requires knowledge of Adobe software. I want to become proficient in all programs that are relevant to my role so I may assume multi-media requests that allow me to take on more responsibility.’

Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?

Think of this question as your sales pitch. Explain the main reasons why you’d be a great fit for the company and let them know how a particular skill or attribute makes you more valuable than the other applicants.

Example: ‘Great question! I believe that managing a creative team for the past six years has prepared me for this leadership position because I’ve learned firsthand how to guide, support and encourage people to do their best work. I’ve realized that the best leaders not only ensure that their team members meet deadlines and produce high-quality work, they also show compassion and respect in their position. I plan to do support my new team in the same way.’

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