Learn to master the skill that everyone needs and few people understand
Throughout our careers, we all have to “sell ourselves”. As with every other skill you have, your ability to sell yourself improves with practice.
Selling yourself is vital for your career
Fresh graduates who convince the boss to give them more interesting challenges are selling themselves. So too are seasoned CEOs who inspire entire corporations to follow their vision.
It’s the same when you apply for jobs and go to interviews. If you want to convince your potential employer that you are the right person, you have to sell yourself. When you start your new job, your ability to sell yourself is a big factor in determining whether others have confidence in you, trust you and are happy to work with you.
What selling yourself is, and is not
If you think selling yourself means that you have turn yourself into a super-slick salesperson, relax! Selling yourself is really a matter of connecting with others in a positive way. It has nothing to do with being over-confident, pushy, manipulative or a know-it-all, all of which you should avoid.
The essential ingredient
Before you can sell yourself to others, they have to believe in you. If you want others to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. That inner calm confidence, or self-assurance, is essential. It shows in the way you write your CV, talk on the telephone and handle yourself in face-to-face conversations.
You might consider a personal development program to develop your confidence and build up other skills that will contribute to your ability to sell yourself.
Tips for selling yourself
Take note of these tips and make them part of who you are, every day.
- Be true to yourself and be authentic. Other people can see through insincerity and “fake behaviour”.
- Be honest, professional and ethical.
- Be open. Admit your mistakes.
- Be positive. Look for the best in yourself, in others and in every situation.
- Consider others and show empathy.
- Develop your listening skills.
- Only say something when you know what you are talking about.
- Practice your body language. Walk tall, stand up straight.
- Dress well. Take care with your personal grooming.
Selling yourself in job applications
Selling yourself is essential if you want that job. See How to apply for jobs.
A note about your online reputation
Like it or not, perceptions are important when you sell yourself. Before people meet you, they may know you by reputation and form a perception of you. These days, you need to remember how the web can affect your personal reputation.
If you have ever used social media, or if someone has ever mentioned your name on their website or blog, your name will turn up in search engine results. It can also appear in the web monitoring tools that employers and recruitment consultants are likely to use when screening you. Please take note of the following tips.
- Avoid posting jokes or comments that could be offensive, or give a potential boss any reason to doubt whether you are an ideal employee. Remember, once your name is on the web, it’s easy for someone else to find it.
- Never publish comments on the web about anything related to your current employer, unless you are doing it as part of your job. For example, if you are in a marketing role that involves using Twitter.
Visit our section on Social Media for more information about how to manage your online reputation.
Get started now
If you’ve never before thought about selling yourself, you should. Get started today, and take the first steps to developing one of the most important skills you will ever have.
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