Jobseekers: The importance of being humble; how to sell yourself without coming across as arrogant

Job seekers are you told to “sell yourself” during your job search, yet are unaware of how to go about it?

You are not alone! Many job seekers are in the same boat and either ignore the advice or worse get it all wrong. It is usually a case of people misinterpreting what “selling yourself” really means in the job search market. “Selling yourself” is about letting the interviewer know why you are right for the job, and what skills and experience you will bring to the party. However this is a very fine line, and if not done correctly, could make you unintentionally come across as arrogant.

So how do you sell yourself without coming across as arrogant? The first thing you need to know is the difference between bragging & “job bragging” (selling your skills and personality). Below are 10 tips to keep you looking humble why you “job brag” your butt off!

1. First of all stay respectful. Listen during the interview and do not interrupt when being asked a question. Even if you think you know what is going to it’s let the interviewer finish their question.
2. Talk about what you are proud of, explaining how you went about achieving the specific results. An interviewer is more interested in how you go about things, and what you believe is a winning story, over what your daily duties were.
3. Do not just drop names to big note yourself; if you know lots of people in the industry that’s great, but how you get that information across will be the deciding factor of if an interviewer will take you seriously and believe you know these people intimately. If you have names you want to “drop” into the conversation, then use them as examples in your answers to their questions.

e.g., “I had an interesting experience back in 2011 when I was dealing with (X company), and the main contact I was dealing with was a gentleman by the name of (XYZ). I had to find a way to …….” “….. I have to say since our initial dealings back on the (X project), (XYZ), and I have often worked to ….”
4. Do not keep repeating what is on your resume, the interviewer has already read your document and has brought you in to go into a deeper discussion of your past achievements and your transferable skills. Give other examples and duties that are more relevant to the question being asked. If you say “its on my resume” or “I have already explained it on my resume” you are guaranteeing yourself a big red mark against your name, especially if the hiring manager is not in the mood to pull the information out of you.
5. Put enthusiasm into answering of the questions, smile and have excitement in your voice (not too much that you could sound desperate, but enough to show you are passionate about your past experiences). Use your hands when explaining, it will keep the interviewer not only engaged, but will demonstrate to them you are comfortable with the discussion.
6. Ask strategic questions, either about past information that has been documented on their website, or enquire if they deal with certain clients that you may have dealt with in the past. This is a great opportunity for you to show them that you are interested in the company, and what the opportunity holds. It also is a great chance for you to showcase your conversation skills, especially if you are going for a role where there is a lot of networking needed.
7. Talk about team involvement and what you enjoyed about your team’s wins; an interview should not just be all about your solo wins, you should showcase your team player side also.
8. Never talk negatively about an employer or colleague. If you had a bad experience always put a positive spin on your previous roles and discuss what you professional gained from the experiences. Negative words can create a negative image in the interviewers mind subconsciously, and you do not want them remembering you because of a negative feeling.
9. At the end of the interview thank the interviewer, let them know that you enjoyed meeting them, and you wish them well with their search. Let them know you will follow up in a few days if they do not mind.
10. And before you leave WELCOME the interviewer to reference check you; this will show you not only have anything to hide, buy you are interested in their opportunity.


First written and published by First Seven Seconds owner Tracey Zylberztajn on Linkedin, August 2016

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