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6 Tips for Mastering Self-Promotion in Job Interviews


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Photo Courtesy of JJ Ying on Unsplash

“I’m uncomfortable talking about myself.”


“It feels like I am bragging.”


“I don’t know how to articulate my value.”


Do any of these sound familiar?


Job interviews are not easy, and for some, they can be extremely intimidating.  I often hear statements like these from clients and job seekers who struggle with talking about themselves in interview settings. Some share that it feels like they are bragging or being arrogant, while others say it just feels strange and awkward. The problem is further compounded if you suffer from social anxiety or generally have a hard time talking with strangers. If you find yourself in this predicament, you are not alone. 


Addressing the discomfort of talking about yourself in interviews is crucial. If left unaddressed, it can eventually hinder your career progression. Job seekers must recognize the importance of self-promotion, especially in a competitive job market like we are in now, and take comfort in knowing that it can be done with the right balance of confidence, humility, and authenticity.


Below are some helpful tips that we know will set you up to tell your story for interview success.


Tip one: advocacy does not equal bragging.

One effective strategy is to reframe your perspective from a sense of bragging to self-advocacy. In essence, as a job seeker, you have to advocate for your candidacy and make it be known why you are the best person for the job. This includes presenting your skills, experiences, and achievements in a manner that aligns with the employer's needs and involves articulating how one's qualifications directly address the requirements of the role and contribute to solving the employer's challenges.


It looks and sounds like this: 

“I see that you are looking for XYZ experience. I have # years in the field, with strong skills in A, B, and C. I have the experience to successfully address your challenges and move the organization forward.”

Advocating for yourself is crucial because no one else is going to do it for you, and no one knows your background and qualifications better than you. So, stand tall and be confident knowing that you are exactly what they are looking for because you have the experience to back it up.  


Tip two: provide concrete examples.

Providing concrete, real-life examples of your skills and achievements is another technique to overcome the awkwardness of self-promotion. Instead of making broad assertions, you should provide specific instances where you utilized your skills and expertise to achieve tangible goals. Incorporating success metrics, such as numbers or percentages into your examples, further strengthens your value and impact. Sharing your real-life wins not only highlights your abilities but it makes your achievements more tangible and relatable – AND it elevates your candidacy. 


Tip: Prepare achievement examples ahead of time and use the STAR format (S = Situation, T = Task, A = Action, R = Result) to structure them.


If it still feels weird to talk about your achievements, keep this in your back pocket:  these statements are TRUE to you and the impact you have made in your career. A job interview is the ideal setting to promote and talk about yourself; in fact, it is standard practice to do so. Employers are expecting you to tout your skills and experience. So, be your own cheerleader and go in with a winning mindset.


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Photo Courtesy of Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Tip three: emphasize collaboration.

Teamwork is a highly sought-after skill in today’s market. Emphasizing the roles of others in your achievements reflects humility and an ability to thrive within a team dynamic. It shifts the spotlight away from your achievements and pivots the conversation toward the collective achievements of the team. 

 

By weaving in responses that highlight effective teamwork and shared successes, you demonstrate your appreciation for diverse skills and perspectives – and you humanize your story, making it more relatable and engaging for the interviewer. Emphasizing collaboration is a strategic approach that not only allows you to address your concerns about appearing self-centered, but it also reflects your values and working style.

 

Tip four: demonstrate growth and learning.

Showcasing a commitment to growth and learning is another strategy for counteracting discomfort with self-promotion. In interviews, describe instances where you navigated challenges, proactively sought feedback, or engaged in learning opportunities. This demonstrates humility by acknowledging areas for growth and an eagerness to evolve and excel in your roles.


Sharing stories of resilience, perseverance, and personal growth provides interviewers with a holistic understanding of your journey and the valuable lessons you have learned along the way. It also reinforces your candidacy by demonstrating your ability to tackle challenges and your dedication to personal and professional growth.


Tip five: be authentic.

Above all else, authenticity is key. Speak genuinely about your experiences, passions, and goals in interviews. Providing authentic responses fosters rapport and connection with interviewers, encourages personal engagement, and establishes a meaningful connection – which means you become more memorable to them. 


Authenticity feels inherently right and good because it aligns with your identity and values, and it reinforces your confidence and conviction in expressing your true self during the interview process. This becomes a win-win for both you and the interviewer.


Finally, tip six: practice, practice, practice.

Practicing your examples out loud is essential to overcoming discomfort and building confidence. Whether rehearsing in front of a mirror or seeking feedback from a friend, consistent, intentional practice enables you to refine your communication skills and convey your value with assurance. 


By embracing these strategies, you will navigate interviews with confidence while effectively showcasing your abilities and securing opportunities that align with your career aspirations.


You GOT this!


 

Brooke Tichenor, The Career Storyteller, standing outdors in a pink shirt
Brooke Tichenor, The Career Storyteller

Brooke Tichenor, the WeInspireWe Career Storyteller, is our in-house expert for all things job search related. When it comes to layoffs and outplacement services, Brooke is an experienced resume writer, LinkedIn developer, interview prepper, negotiation expert, and human resources professional with a heart for helping people get to that ‘next chapter’ in their careers. Brooke's interactive process hones in on the individual’s relevant skills, areas of expertise, achievements, and value that align with positions of interest. She then crafts a ‘human voiced’ resume that conveys a unique and captivating career story that stands out from the competition. Her goal for each client is to walk away with clarity and confidence in themselves and empowerment to go after their dreams.


If you're ready to offer help to your team who is experiencing a layoff, or help in jump-starting your job search, finding and communicating your career story, or building confidence within, click here to meet with Brooke for a free 1:1 consultation.  

 

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