Ask the Expert: Selling Yourself

Aug 12, 2011

Janice Worthington, The Ohio Society’s career coach of choice, answers your questions as you navigate your career path. Ask about job searching, resumes, interviewing – let Janice help. Ask Janice your question today.

Question: I have read many articles telling me to “sell myself,” but I am having a hard time figuring out what this really means. One of my concerns is that I may come across as egotistical and another stems from the fact that I really can’t identify what I have to sell. Help!

Answer: To learn what you have to sell, you must identify several things. First, what are your skill sets, transferable skills and functional areas of expertise? In what are you experienced? And perhaps most importantly, where and on what occasions have you made the greatest contributions? So the first step is to take an inventory of what you have to offer.

The second step is conduct a bit of research or intelligence regarding what the company needs. Where is a company’s area of need? Where are the problem areas? The way to best sell yourself is to connect what you’ve done with what a company needs done. You can’t be much more persuasive when giving an employer a reason to “buy” than by specific examples as to how you can assist in their areas of weakness.

Finally, let’s look at the psychological roadblocks. We have all been taught that humility is a golden quality and pride is a downfall. We become very uncomfortable when it’s time to discuss our good points using our communication skills. To come out on top when there is a glut of candidates, it’s critical that we put our best war stories and adventures on the table in the form of contributions and achievements.

Try to think more in terms in how much good all your expertise could do and how many good people may very well need you. See yourself as a potential contributor, not a braggart. If your motives are sincere this should be the case anyway! If you have solutions that could help customers or workers in a struggling economic time, you owe it to that prospective employer to offer your gifts! Good luck!