Self-Promotion and the Job Search

promoting yourself
promoting yourself

“I don’t like promoting myself, so that makes it tough to find a new job.” We at Your Edge for Success (YES), DC’s top-rated resume and career coaching company, hear this every week. Here’s the good news: most people dislike promoting themselves—and with good reason! Nobody likes a braggart.

Religion, our parents, and life experience teach us: humility is a virtue; pride goeth before a fall. And yet we also believe that we must promote ourselves in order to attract the attention of employers in a crowded, competitive field of job hunters, right? Yes and no.

Think of it this way: The last time you fell in love, did the object of your desire promote him/herself? Or did you just notice how lovable and desirable s/he was? Getting someone to want to work with you is not unlike getting someone to want to play or live with you.

Remember your first date? Did s/he tell you, “I am a kind, successful, fun person”? Probably not. That was the lying narcissist you had the smarts to run from! But you noticed, didn’t you? You noticed that he was kind to the waiter, that she was well dressed, that he made you laugh.

Same thing in the job search: don’t sell yourself but rather make yourself someone the employer will want to buy. Here’s the irony: People hate to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy. This is one of the principles behind our Interview Aikido training program.

What kind of person does the employer want to buy? Have you ever hired someone, and what did you look for? When I hire, I look for someone with a good work ethic, who can follow instructions, who can roll with unexpected challenges, whom I feel good around, who really wants the job. In a larger workplace, they’re looking for someone who can work well in a team and fit in.

Does the most qualified person get the job? Not always. You can be extremely qualified, but if your words, behavior, or even energy raise red flags, you won’t get the job. Most employers would rather train someone with the right personality and character to do the job than hire someone very experienced who’s set in her ways or won’t take direction.

So in preparing for an interview, and throughout your job search, focus on how you can make life better for your interviewer and your prospective organization. Don’t make it all about you. Be sure he knows what’s awesome about you, but only because that awesomeness can be put at his service. A modest way of speaking? “I think you’ll find when you check with my references that I …”

Make sure you look and act like a superstar, with excellent grooming, tasteful business dress, and impeccable social graces. First impressions count! A quarter of interviewers decide whether to hire you in five minutes, and half decide within 15.

To practice charming strangers and learn more about perfect personal packaging, see our guest blog or come join us for our free breakfast meeting of Business Network International (BNI) on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the Beacon Hotel, 1615 Rhode Island Avenue NW, from 7:30-9 a.m. PM me for more information. Can’t wait to have you as my guest!

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