How to Sell Yourself at InterviewPosted: 29th of December 2014 by
As the New Year approaches plenty of people are looking at finding a new job, and with that comes interviews. While you will already be aware that you need to dress the part and make a good impression, an interview is also about selling yourself to a potential employer. However, for many of us more used to playing down our skills for fear of appearing big-headed, this can seem like a daunting prospect. So, what do you do when the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself? How do you make sure you say the right things, without giving them a complete life story?
An interviewer is not really interested in your favourite colour, what you had for breakfast, or what your boy or girlfriend is like. The idea of the question is to find out how well you will suit their company and the job you are applying for. This means that your answer needs to change to suit the company and job that you are hoping to land, so make sure your answers stay on topic.
If you are heading for an interview, you will most-likely face some form of this question, so it is worth being prepared by doing some research about the company you are applying to, as well as looking over the job description again. Taking this information into consideration think how you would sell yourself to them. This is often called an ‘elevator speech,’ the idea being you imagine you are riding in a lift with the CEO of the company, and have just a few moments to sell yourself.
You don’t need to prepare a long and rambling speech, but instead try to prepare around 3 minutes maximum. Summarise your life and relevant experiences and any skills that you have learnt that are applicable to the job you are applying for. You can use hobbies and interests too – where relevant. For example if you play a team sport, it can show an ability to work with others, while captaining your team shows leadership skills. You may also want to make note of any volunteer work you have done, showing that you have a giving nature that could translate well to the workplace.
You may want to practice your speech to get it right before you go to interview, and perhaps even present it to a friend or family member who will be able to advise you of any changes you might want to make. While this will seem odd at first, it will certainly help when it comes to presenting your ‘elevator speech’ at interview.
However, you don’t want it to sound too rehearsed, even if it is! You need to come across as relaxed and spontaneous, almost as if you didn’t really expect them to ask you such an obvious question!
When answering remember to speak slowly and clearly, especially if you tend to speed up when you are under pressure. Practicing your speech will help you to stay relaxed and in control. Remember to tailor your speech to the company and job in question and sound spontaneous. However, don’t try to make jokes or be flippant, as it is too easy to misjudge and could leave you losing out on the job.
Stay professional, stay calm, and be prepared!
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