How To Sell Yourself
You may not think of yourself this way, but no matter what you do for a living, at various times you will
have to be a salesperson. You may or may not ever be charged with selling products or services, but at
the very least you will have to sell yourself and your talents. You will have to convince owners and
bosses to hire you, to retain you, to promote you, to give you pay raises and so on.
Many trade workers are shy people. Sometimes that’s why they choose trade work, because many tasks
can be done alone, with minimal interaction with co-workers who have their own tasks to perform. It’s
okay to be shy and introverted if that’s the personality you’ve grown into. But there are times when it’s
in your interest to break out of your shell and assert why you should be hired, retained, promoted or
paid more. Here are some tips.
- Think about your proudest achievements and why they are important. Be specific. “I’m reliable”
is a general statement that is hard to verify. But if you can produce a sterling attendance record
from schools or previous jobs, that shows a specific example of reliability.
- Build referrals. I wrote about this last October. Let other people do your selling for you.
- Be prepared to share specific, documentable instances of exceptional performance. This might
include jobs completed ahead of schedule or under budget; complicated tasks that others
couldn’t handle; pinch-hitting for someone who was taken ill or otherwise disabled.
- Draw attention to charitable and other extracurricular activities. These may not be related to
the job at hand, but in the long run it pays to be a well-rounded person.
- Avoid complaining. Nobody likes a whiner. Maybe you didn’t like your previous job or the boss,
but don’t cite that as the main reason you left. Sometimes you can’t avoid explaining conflicts,
but don’t make it the centerpiece of discussion. Focus more on what’s ahead and your positive
- Be honest. Selling yourself involves accentuating all the positives you can think of, but never lie.
Lies always come back to haunt you. They may even get you fired from a job you may like.
- Listen and ask questions. What’s this have to do with selling? Everything! Top sales professionals
only speak about 10 percent of the time in a sales conversation. The rest of the time they listen
and process information that tells them about a customer’s needs and wants. If there’s
something they don’t undersand, they ask questions until they are sure they do. Do the same
when applying for a job.
- Interview yourself. Would you hire yourself? Why? Make sure you understand why you are
deserving before trying to convince someone else.