Job Search Monday: Go Ahead, and Brag!
Many people find it difficult to brag about themselves. However, it is imperative in an interview. More than half of the people interviewing for jobs fail to win an offer simply because they failed to sell their accomplishments.
The natural tendency for most job seekers is to behave modestly in a job interview. Although humility is usually an attractive trait, it will work against you when job hunting and moving up the corporate ladder. If you do not tell a prospective employer how good you are, who will?
More than likely you have the qualifications for the jobs for which you are interviewing. That should give you the confidence to tell the interviewer why your accomplishments make you the best person for the position.
Give yourself a fighting chance at the interview. Your resume might have helped you get the interview, but its usefulness has ended there. It will not speak for itself. If it makes you feel more comfortable, take a step "outside yourself." This means to view yourself as someone else may view you. Rather than thinking that you are talking about yourself, pretend you are giving a recommendation of a good friend.
To do the best job of selling yourself in an interview, you have to be prepared in advance. As part of your job-hunting check list, write down on a piece of paper your major job-related accomplishments. Commit them to memory. You will probably be pleasantly surprised to see in writing all that you have done. (RELATED: Build Your Brand http://www.challengergray.com/press/blog/job-search-monday-build-your-brand)
By developing this list, you will have accomplished two things: the first is you will impress the interviewer by being able to talk confidently and succinctly about your accomplishments. You will not have to sit uncomfortably while you think of your successes. They will be at the tip of your tongue.
Secondly, rather than dwell on your own personality characteristics, such as how hardworking or creative you are, you can discuss hard facts, such as how you saved your employer money or an idea you developed that helped a customer make more money.
Let the interviewer know about the praise your accomplishments have won from your former supervisors. Make a point of mentioning any awards or honors you received in your work or a related field. If your job evaluations were consistently excellent, quote your supervisors' compliments.
When chronicling your accomplishments for the interviewer, take as much credit as you honestly can. If you were key part behind a major group project, tell the interviewer. If you developed a specific idea without help from your supervisor, it is acceptable to say that. Remember, you are at that interview to sell yourself, not your former co-workers.
However, never criticize your former employer. Sharing your negative thoughts with the interviewer is an immediate turn-off and will only brand you as a complainer and gossip, whom no one likes or will hire.
Keep in mind that the most important part of a job interview is making the employer like you and presenting yourself as the person he or she wants you to be. Consciously or not, most employers tend to hire people who reflect their own values and standards.
One important thing to keep in mind while you are discussing your accomplishments: do not tell the employer how to run his or her business. Just discuss your qualifications and the good things you have done and let the interviewer decide how you might fill the company's needs.
Once you get the job you want, boasting about your accomplishments does not stop. Although you may think all your successes and achievements are highly visible, remember that you are only one of many people in a company. Lack of recognition is a top complaint against former employers.
Do not let it happen to you. Make a point to tell your supervisor what you have done. Even if not asked, write down what you have accomplished on a regular basis and give it to your supervisor so he or she knows what you are doing. A written report can also be referred to during performance and salary reviews to document your achievements.
To help make yourself more visible in the company, volunteer for additional assignments -- both job-related and non business related. These could include community relations or charitable activities in which your company is involved. These types of activities may enable you to have more time and access to top executives of the company to whom you may endear yourself. You might even have the opportunity to tell them what you are doing for the company which can never hurt.
Remember, letting people know what you are doing and what you have accomplished is not a bad thing whether you are interviewing for a new job or working your way up the corporate hierarchy. Your worklife is a constant sales job. You must sell yourself like a product to win a job. Once you have a job, you must continually promote yourself and your accomplishments to hold on to your job and move successfully through the corporate ranks.