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How to Sell Yourself as the Best Candidate in an Interview

by Kristine Tucker

You can't always read a hiring manager's mind or predict what strategies will work best in a job interview. As a result, you need a well-constructed plan for selling yourself during the interview. The goal is to present your skills, goals and qualifications in a way that leaves the interviewer feeling like you're the best candidate for the job.

Provide Specific Examples

Use specific workplace experiences, projects and success stories to support your skills and qualifications. Job candidates often make the mistake of offering generalities and vague descriptions that come across as insincere and robotic. Terms such as "hard-working," "dedicated" and "team player" sound good, but they apply to almost any position and aren't specific enough to adequately define your skills. Provide real information such as sales figures, client testimonials, performance evaluations and project accomplishments to sell yourself as the best candidate. Also, provide a list of technical skills that are specific to the job, and then describe how they can benefit the company.

Focus on Leadership

Discuss your leadership skills and management experiences in the interview, even if you aren't applying for a management position. Companies need strong leaders at every level, even among rank and file workers. Not all workers are good leaders, so you will likely stand out in the applicant pool if you convince the interviewer that you have superior leadership qualities. Mention teams you've led, programs you've developed and projects you've supervised, then provide examples of leadership techniques you used to help your teams achieve their goals. Share how those leadership roles helped you develop strong, healthy relationships with colleagues or subordinates. Discuss your leadership style and how it is relevant to the open position.

Come Prepared

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, said in an article for "Forbes" that one of the best ways to sell yourself is to bring a personal branding toolkit with you to the interview. The toolkit might include your business cards, resume, cover letter, reference list and a portfolio of your work. Each document must include your email address, website address or LinkedIn profile. Branding yourself shows that you know how to promote your most valuable assets, that always come prepared to important meetings, and that you have thought about how your skills and work align with the job you're interviewing for.

Ask the Right Questions

Sell yourself by asking questions that reveal your interest in the company and the position. Research the company's website, media links and LinkedIn profiles to learn more about its management team, history, vision, culture, financial performance and industry reputation. Similarly, research the industry itself to learn about the company's competitors as well as important trends that are affecting the industry. With a deep knowledge of the company, its industry and its competition, you will be prepared to ask educated, thoughtful questions that prove you take the interview and the job opportunity seriously.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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