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How to sell yourself

Team Prosple

Uncomfortable about promoting yourself? Here are some suggestions to make it easier.

Being able to sell yourself to a potential employer is essential for landing a good job. However, don’t worry if you find the idea of self-promotion uncomfortable – many people do. The key to overcoming a natural tendency for modesty is to let an employer get to know the ‘real’ you and what you are capable of, without making you feel awkward.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Consider your strengths

During the recruitment process, many people downplay their skills and abilities or fail to mention them altogether. This is typically for two reasons: they don’t view them as noteworthy or they don’t want to come across as boastful.

Sound familiar?

Now is the time to recognise you have skills and strengths worth talking about. Think about the different activities you’re involved in and write down the skills you use to do them. For example:

  • Write essays and use presentations for your degree course? These are examples of your written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Play rugby or netball? Teamwork. And if you are captaining, organising, leading and motivating others, make note of that too. 
  • Fit in a part-time job alongside your coursework? Examples of time management and prioritising.
  • Add any extra qualifications or courses you might have completed. 
  • Finally, ask your friends, family, tutors and mentors what they think you are good at.

You now have a list of skills and examples you can refer to when applying for a job. Keep them handy for applications and interviews.

  1. The difference between boasting and providing useful information

If you are worried about over-selling yourself remember, you are simply providing recruiters with evidence that you are the right person for the job. 

Recruiters aren’t mind readers. Unless you tell them about your skills and highlight what you are best at, they won’t know – and will probably hire someone else.

So approach an application or an interview with the attitude that you are merely a source of useful information. Your skills and examples are potential assets for an organisation. 

  1. Actions speak louder than words

Rather than stating: ‘I’m good at managing my time’, talk about times when you managed your time well. For example: 

‘Managing my time was important last term. I mentored high school students for AIME, worked part time as a barista but also did my coursework. I handed in all of my work on time, met all of my volunteering obligations and still worked my café hours, although I did swap shifts with colleagues on a couple of occasions.’

Your actions demonstrate that you are good at time management, without having to say so.