You're on the market and want to find a new job ASAP. You know you have what it takes to do the work, but when it comes to interviews, well, things get messy. It can be awkward to sell yourself to potential employers. You have to boast about your accomplishments and prove you have what it takes. But no matter how many times you practice and study the company, you still freak out the minute you shake the interviewer's hand. The truth is, though, that it's what you decide to do with your worries that will determine the outcome.
"Now more than ever before, employers are looking past just what they see on a resume. In this age of technology and social media, effective self-promotion is crucial in setting you apart from your competition. Additionally, the importance of finding the best person for the position, the first time, has increased. Managers want to find the best candidate for the position in the shortest amount of time. A candidate who puts in their best qualities forward and is most transparent with their potential employer will be the one who stands out. Even if the position is not the best for the candidate’s qualifications, there is a likelihood that the candidate will be considered for other roles," says director of National Talent Acquisition at Paychex Jody Stolt in an email with Bustle.
Don't let your worries get the best of you. With these few tricks, you can learn how to sell yourself to your potential employers in no time.
1. Be Honest & Consistent In Your Conversation
While you think it's OK to tell a little white lie about your accomplishments, it's better for you to be honest. Inform them of the steps you're taking to strengthen your skills. "For me as an employer, one of the most important things that I’m looking for in a potential hire is honesty and consistency in a conversation. I am usually very skeptical about very 'beautiful' and perfect resumes. [I'm] looking for people who were really doing a 'hands-on' job," says CEO and co-founder of Grabr Daria Rebenok in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. Polish Your Appearance
Even though you don't want to judge a book by its cover, the way you dress for an interview can determine if you're a good fit or not for the company. "As uncomfortable as it sounds, we are judged on our appearance when we look for a job. Men with more tailored suits are judged as more successful and competent. Women in management positions are judged more positively if their clothing and the way they wear their clothing is more conservative. A study at Boston University found that women who wear makeup are judged to be more competent. Too much makeup can make a person look less trustworthy. Although these facts seem superficial, it can be beneficial to look at altering appearance as a tool that is based on research to utilize at your discretion," says licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kim Chronister in an interview with Bustle over email.
3. Be Overly Prepared
Just because you can create a killer article or ace a project on the whim doesn't mean you can or should "wing it" right before your interview. "The content of your interview is a critical component. Read up on the trends of the industry. Prepare to discuss the facets of your potential job that would excite you. In order to be perceived as 'Executive Material,' you must have superior communication skills so be sure to rehearse," says Chronister.
4. Share Your Story
Are you the first person in your family to graduate college? Had to quickly turn around a massive project under three hours at your past job? Talk about it! Instead of bragging about how awesome you are (even though that may be true), discuss how you became the kick-ass #GIRLBOSS by illustrating your career journey. "Don’t brag. Just tell us your story. We look for our candidates to not only tell us what they have done but how they have done it. We want to best understand how our candidates have been successful as we’re looking to translate how they would perform here at Paychex and whether Paychex is the best fit for them," says Stolt.
5. Sell Your Values
"A candidate’s value system will help us to better understand their motivation. If we understand their motives, we can best assess if they are in alignment with our company culture and if they will be successful here," says Stolt. In today's job market, companies place a lot of value on candidates that fit within their culture. The more you know what your values are, the easier it can be for you to find the perfect job.
6. Ask Questions
If you're anything like me, you become extremely nervous when you're being interviewed, which means you could ramble on and on about nothing and everything at the same time. Prevent this by asking questions up front to help you focus on the type of topics you need to highlight. "You want to make sure that you are talking about things that are relevant to the potential employers, so what better way than to ask carefully crafted questions right away. It is a must for a candidate to come to an interview prepared with questions about the company, the position and even about my management style. Putting the research behind your questions really proves that you have a leg up on the competition," says CEO and founder of the Los Angeles-based, tech PR firm PMBC Group Ola Danilina in an email with Bustle.
7. Explain How You've Contributed
When you're in an interview, you don't want to list off your previous job duties. Inform the interviewer how you made a difference in your old company and how you want to transfer your skills and experience into this new possible position. "When considering a candidate, one of the most important questions employers have is, 'How is this person going to contribute to the bottom line?' To make yourself really stand out, you have to explain how you can use your position to increase profits and decrease costs. Think of realistic scenarios in which you can apply your expertise to benefit the employer on a day-to-day basis. Back those ideas up with stories of how your skills and knowledge have been an advantage to organizations in the past," says Danilina.
8. Be Direct And Specific
"Avoid empty clichés. Be prepared to back up your claims about your skills or characteristics with relevant and specific stories. For example, don't just say you 'work well with others' — talk about the types of teams you've worked with and what you've learned from them. Or if you plan to say you're 'detail-oriented,' come to the interview prepared with a story about how your attention to detail saved a former employer money (or otherwise saved the day)," says Danilina. Essentially, don't think of your interview as a first date. You can't just say anything because you think it's going to "woo" them. Make sure you know how to back up your words and be visual when you explain your ideas.
9. Be The Solution
Every company is looking for someone to solve their problems. Be aware of your unique qualities so you know how you can make a difference in the company you're interviewing for. "I appreciate when people can tell what projects they have been responsible for, their role and responsibility in them, the mistakes and problems they faced and how they managed to overcome and learn from them," says Rebenok about being a solution to a company's problem.
Try not to let your nerves get the best of you. With a little bit and a lot of studying, you can ace your interview and get offered a new job.