Una's Blog

18
Jul

28 I hate having to sell myself

graphic-4by Una Hearne.

Is this a cultural thing or a human thing? I am most familiar with Irish and English people and there is an attitude bred into a lot of us that talking about ourselves in positive terms is a bad thing. It is considered far more virtuous to be modest and to underplay our achievements. In most public situations this is fine, it is true that we find a boastful or self absorbed person tedious or even obnoxious.

On the other hand if we don’t acknowledge our achievements, large and small, to ourselves we undermine our own confidence. We build on success and so it is vital to have some way of internalising and acknowledging successes for yourself. Often the best way to do this is to have a small number of close people you can share your triumphs with.

But back to the public arena, there is one type of public situation where modesty is a downright handicap. This is in interviews for jobs or pitches for business. I would go so far as to say that underplaying your achievements in these situations is a disservice to the person who has given up their time to hear you.

Here’s the thing – the person or people who have agreed to give you the time to interview or pitch don’t know you. They are willing to hand over hard cash for the right person. The only way they have of assessing if you are the person they need is from the information you give them and the way you present yourself. It is your job to communicate, as clearly and as well as you can, who you are and what you can do for them. If you hold back on achievements or skills through modesty or lack of self awareness – they simply won’t know about them and can’t make a decision based on all the facts.

You owe it to yourself to be prepared for an interview or pitch. This means knowing your value – your skills, attributes, achievements, experience, qualifications, everything that you bring to your work.

Selling yourself, in this context, does not mean using sales techniques to get people to buy something they don’t want. This is never a clever strategy. The objective is actually to meet and communicate with potential employers/clients. It is about making it easy for people who can really benefit from you and your work to choose you and/or your product or service.


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