At the heart of what job interviewing is and has always been, is the task of marketing yourself, demonstrating during a process of elimination why you are the person they have been looking for – the right person for the job. So it is necessary, is it not, for you to demonstrate why a hiring manager should hire you – that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
If you want to rely on your resume and let it do the talking for you, well, then you’d be like most others sitting around with their fingers crossed, wishin’ and a-hopin’ – yeah well, good luck with that. You have a duty and responsibility to yourself to be your own best spokesperson, marketer and sales person because somebody’s gotta and if not you, then who? The manner by which to best assemble and present yourself I’ve explained in the past so, rather than explain it again, you should either purchase my handbook and always have the reference material at your fingertips, or, you can review some of the video segments in which I describe how to assemble an F.A.B. presentation; the links to both can be found on this blog page. I don’t care which you choose, but do something.
However, the focus of this blog entry is to urge that you reject as self-sabotage the notion that somehow self-promotion is unseemly, or less than professional or, worse, selfish. It is not and often I hear people making lame excuses because someone convinced them they are unworthy or, most often, they are just plain uncomfortable about talking about themselves. For the most part it comes down to an issue of self-confidence, the very byproduct of self-improvement and empowerment. Do you believe you are in fact the best qualified and suitable person for the jobs for which you are applying? Many people mistakenly think that if they speak on their own behalf it is bragging, and they don’t want to be seen or portrayed as such or, worse yet, they fear they will be perceived as arrogant. I like, respect and admire those with self-confidence, while I have little time and no patience for hubris-laden arrogant people.
There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance and the two are not similar -- not even close! Confidence is both qualitative and quantitative; it can be demonstrated, measured, proven and verified so you are stating fact. This is why you might hear employers and people like me suggest you should be able to present a demonstrable track record of success to accompany your claims; regardless of whether it is with documentation or anecdotal evidence backed up by references, if need be. If you possess that which proves your claims you are speaking from a position of confidence and, believe me, when you believe in yourself and your abilities it is powerful and palpable.
Alternatively, an arrogant person might have accomplishments but they have an over-inflated opinion of themselves, which usually means their claims are equally over-inflated and exaggerated. They try to convince anyone who will listen of their importance when, in reality, I think they do so to ultimately convince themselves, seeking validation any way they can. It is also an indication they are not team players or just plain bullshitters.
So come on folks, there is a difference, and there is no valid excuse to not be prepared to share your accomplishments – so long as your statements are factual and expressed for the purpose of comparative measure, rather than only self-promotion. I repeat it almost every week; if you are doing the same things over and over again, seeing no different results than others, well, ask yourself, are you doing anything more than going through the motions and merely hiding behind your resume? This is what most people are doing, by the way; imposing limitations on themselves because they worry about what someone will think of them if they stand out in a crowd -- although that is precisely what is necessary.
For too long, the mediocre and bureaucrats who resent accomplishment and who are themselves unable or unwilling to up their own game, have been trying to tell us for years that we are no better than one another. They tell us we’re all the same and it is somehow wrong to strive, compete and elevate oneself as they seek to deny that which is an inherent part of our own human nature. They tell us it is somehow elitist or bourgeois to seek anything but generic sameness. By pulling us down, they elevate themselves. And to a large degree, they are succeeding.
I’m suggesting that you reject the herd mentality and those who would dis-empower you with the imposition of bland sameness. Resolve to do what your instincts tell you; seek to empower and, therefore, elevate yourself in order to improve your chances in the competition that is the interview process. As for anyone who would tell you otherwise – swat those flies away, pay them no mind and move ahead.