How to Talk About Yourself to Prospective Employers

If you want to land the best career opportunity, you must be able to present yourself as the best candidate for it. How do you do that? Most people would say by trying to be better, smarter or more accomplished than all the other candidates. But how would you do that if you don’t even have the chance to meet them? I propose a different approach – don’t try to be better, instead be unique, be yourself.

I have asked multiple hiring managers what is the number one thing they are looking for in a candidate. Regardless of the job or even the industry, they all say pretty much the same thing. Most of them have two big questions in mind. Will this person be a good fit for the team? The other question is, “what will this person bring to the team?”

In other words, every manager wants to create a diverse work environment where everyone gets along well, and each team member brings something unique to the group to further its growth and development.

Know your value.

In order to present yourself in the best possible light, you must first know your value. This seems like a simple concept we’ve all heard before. Yet, this is extremely difficult to do, because as human beings, it is so unnatural to us to see our true value. I am not talking about confidence and healthy high self-esteem. Although those are important too.

What I am talking about your specific unique value that you bring to any company or any place you go to. Something you do naturally, something you can’t help but bring, because that’s who you are. No one does it better than you and no one does it the same way as you.

That’s what hiring managers really want to know – what will you bring to the team that they don’t already have. And if you know how to answer that question because you know yourself that well, you will show up powerfully at a job interview. Now, this will not necessarily guarantee you the job offer. But most likely you will be selected if this job is the right fit for you.

It’s not about you.

Another interesting fact I have recently learned from a hiring manager is that most people they interview have already passed the qualification test. In other words, if a candidate has already made it as far as an interview with the hiring manager, the hiring manager already believes this candidate can do the job. You don’t have to convince them of anything. Hopefully, it will make you feel better to know that you don’t have to perform.

Yes, I already mentioned that knowing yourself and your value is crucial. But that alone is not enough. In order to be able to sell yourself effectively, you must be able to understand their needs as well. Yes, we all know you are great at what you do, but what’s in it for them? So stop trying to impress them by telling them how awesome you are. Instead, focus on their goals and challenges – all the reasons why they decided to create this job opening in the first place. Show them you care and talk about what can you do for them using your unique expertise. That’s more likely to impress them.

Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach, a resume writer and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.

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