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In two decades of coaching clients I often assist with interviewing since it’s a clear form of public speaking. One of the issues I encounter is that many clients fear they will sound as though they’re simply bragging when discussing their accomplishments. This is a concern because as an interview candidate you must come across as confident to the prospective employer but yet you don’t want to cross the line and sound like a braggart.
Here is my advice:
- Know the skills that the prospective employer is most seeking and write them down. You can reference the company’s website or a job description for the role you’re pursuing.
- Using your updated resume, know your own strengths relative to what the employer is seeking and also jot those down. See where they clearly align. You may consider drawing lines to those skills that match up.
- Tell a relevant story. By that I mean in response to a question (e.g. Tell me about yourself), think of a situation that clearly depicts actions you took and the subsequent results that were achieved. Be conversational and do your best to sound natural as you relate your story.
- Where appropriate use data and specific outcomes to support your story.
- In telling your story, be mindful of using too many “I” statements where you give yourself all the credit. For most of us, we participated in a team effort or had support that contributed to a strong outcome. Express gratitude for any help you received.
- Ensure that your response is concise keeping in mind that less is often more.
- Practice your interview answers aloud and record yourself so you may listen to the feedback and make necessary adjustments.
- Be sure to ask questions that demonstrate insightful thinking.
Remember that as an interview candidate your purpose is to sell yourself to the prospective employer. Keep in mind that the prospective employer must also sell the company to you as this is a 2-way street. By following these guidelines you stand a far better chance of coming across as confident and self-assured vs. someone who is bragging.
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