Raise your hand if you have ever applied for a job.
Now keep your hand up if you felt like you forgot how to respond in complete sentences when your potential employer asked you to describe yourself, your strengths, and your accomplishments.
I promise, you’re not alone if you still have your hand up…
Somehow it seems that people have no problem bragging about their kids, their spouses, or even their friends but when it comes to bragging, or at least taking ownership, of the things that make them great it becomes very difficult. If you find yourself in this boat let me help you out a little bit.
1. Stop the Humble Brag
I know I’m guilty of this. Someone tells me I did a good job on something and instead of just saying, “Thanks, I worked really hard on that!” I end up saying, “Oh, it was no big deal,” or passing credit on to someone else I was working with.
If you have worked hard on something, BE PROUD! Take the credit when credit is due. Say thank you. Own up to your great accomplishments and don’t try to downplay them.
Good supervisors already know who has done the work and can see right through your words. In an interview, if a potential employer asks about your accomplishments, tell them the truth. That you kick butt at whatever it is you excel at and do not be ashamed of your talents. They are looking to hire someone to fill a specific opening and your unique skill set or accomplishments might just be what tips the scales in your favor.
So even if your mama told you it’s not polite to brag, in this case it is!
2. Have an Elevator Speech
While I didn’t know that it was called an “elevator speech,” I have been practicing this technique for years. What it means is having a pre-planned 30-60 second speech down that tells a stranger who you are, what you have done, and what you want to accomplish in a specific task.
The idea is that you know this speech so well that if your dream employer walked into the same elevator as you, you could present yourself and why they should hire you in the time it takes to get to their floor of the building.
Interviews aren’t always long and drawn out. Sometimes you meet someone at an event (like the MSOY events!) and in that little elevator speech you manage to open the door to an amazing possibility because you were confident in who you are and what you have to offer.
Connections are made in some of the strangest places and you have to be prepared to take advantage of every opportunity you have to get ahead and achieve your goals.
3. Can the Canned Answers
Look, no one loves answering the, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” or “What makes you a good employee?” type questions during an interview.
But at the same time, the people who ask them get tired of hearing that a person’s greatest weakness is that they are too dedicated to their job or that they are a good employee because they show up on time every day.
We all resort back to these type of answers because it is what we think people want to hear. But imagine how refreshing it would be if you answer honestly.
Is your greatest weakness that you don’t know how to use advanced computer programs?
Are you a great employee because you are connected to people who could help open a new audience to a company?
Think about these questions before you hit the waiting area of the office where you are sitting down to interview. Figure out what it is that really makes you different than every other candidate sitting there hoping to get the job and do not be afraid to say it when they ask you about yourself.
Canned answers are what they are expecting.
A unique answer is going to be what makes you memorable once you shake their hand and walk away.
I know for someone who is just tipping their toes back into the job market it can be intimidating to sell yourself.
But believe me when I say you have to do that during interviews. You need to make sure that your resume and your interview is remembered for longer than the time it takes for an employer to ask the next candidate to come into the office.
If you have confidence in yourself, your skills, and the accomplishments you have under your belt you will be able to brag with style and leave them taking note of your name long after you walk out of the elevator.