How to You Sell Yourself in an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An interview is your opportunity to make your case for earning a new job and it is essential that you make a lasting positive impression that sets you apart from the other candidates. To perform well at an interview, present yourself and communicate in a way that lets your qualifications, skills, experiences and personal attributes shine. This is known as ' selling yourself'. By acquiring key skills and behaviours that assist you in selling yourself, you can approach the interview process with confidence.

In this article, we explain what ' selling yourself' is, and outlines the basics of how to sell yourself at an interview, with actionable steps for making yourself desirable to an interviewer.

Related: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Yourself'

What is selling yourself at interview?

Selling yourself encompasses the proactive steps you take in an interview to convince your interviewer that you would be a valuable asset to the company you have applied to join. It's all about consistently presenting yourself as the best candidate for the role. Like a marketer or salesperson, your focus is promoting yourself as the product the hiring manager should buy.

How to sell yourself in an interview

To be successful at selling yourself, preparation is key. You need to invest time in not only researching your role and the organisation you wish to join but also ensuring that you can communicate clearly and confidently why you are the ideal person for the job, backing up your assertions with evidence from your CV and experience. Here are 14 steps you can take to ensure that you sell yourself effectively in a job interview:

1. Get comfortable talking positively about yourself

To sell yourself well, you need to be able to speak about yourself positively. In a job interview you won't be bragging or being proud but rather naturally, confidently, and consistently drawing attention to your positive attributes and accomplishments.

Speaking positively about yourself may not be the usual way in which you express yourself, so it is important to practice doing this by yourself in front of a mirror or with a friend or colleague.

To help you reach for positive things to say, write a list of notable achievements and skills that you have. If you have met or exceeded sales targets or other professional goals within your career now is the time to share these achievements to prove your statements.

2. Look like you are about to walk straight into your new job.

A job interview is definitely the time to dress the part for your intended role. First impressions often last so ensure that you have a presentable appearance that exudes confidence. Ensure that you are clean, presentable, and dressed in smart attire. Practice walking and sitting in your interview outfit so that you will be comfortable on the day.

3. Practice projecting confidence

Cultivate a confident attitude and presentation by adopting a tone of voice, posture, and body language that communicates that you are the perfect hire for the role. Practice in front of a mirror or with a friend or relative. Standing upright, making eye contact and offering a firm handshake are ways in which you can leave a lasting positive impression without speaking.

4. Ensure that you can quickly share relevant career highlights from your CV or job application

Just like a keen salesperson, you need to know your product well. Make sure that you can efficiently direct an interviewer to the areas of your CV and professional accomplishments that match both the required and desired attributes for the job. This involves going through your CV and jotting down the significance or importance of specific parts, so you can draw on these points at the interview.

Related: Interview Question: 'What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?'

5. Qualify the statements you make about yourself with strong metrics

If you have particular accomplishments in your current or previous roles, reach for metrics that can be quickly interpreted by your interviewer as demonstrating value. For example, hitting or exceeding sales targets, market growth, customer retention, should all be proven with hard numbers to back up your assertions. If you have certificates or hard copy evidence you can offer it to your interviewer for review.

6. Continually align yourself with company needs

Study the employer's job advert, job description, and any supporting information on the role that you can find. Your objective is to gain an understanding of what the employer really needs in their next hire, and make sure that you can demonstrate that you're it.

Ask yourself what the company needs from a person in this role. Use your response to craft practice answers to interview questions that continually refer back to your ability to fulfil their needs.

7. Share insightful anecdotes

Being able to provide relatable answers based on your past experiences can be advantageous at an interview. Firstly it demonstrates insight and your ability to interpret a question correctly. Secondly, anecdotes can be used to demonstrate the breadth or depth of your experience in a particular subject area.

Related: How To Answer the Question: 'Why Do You Want To Work Here?'

8. Plan your talking points

Get strategic with your interview planning and preparation by brainstorming the various ways in which you can demonstrate being the best candidate for the role. Choose keywords and phrases that match the qualities that are sought by the hirer. Once you have completed this exercise, you can distil the main points and memorise them so that they can be introduced at appropriate junctures in your interview.

Creating an elevator speech, a short speech that summarises who you are and why you are great for the role is a great strategy for opening an interview. Challenge yourself to keep your summary as short and as relevant as possible, comprising who you are, what you can do, and where you would like to go (career objectives).

Related: 7 Personal Attributes To Mention in Your Interview

9. Where possible, carry a portfolio to your interview

If you work in a creative industry a portfolio is vital for selling yourself at an interview. Put time and effort into mastering the creation of a well-organised and targeted portfolio that will stimulate and drive the conversation at your interview.

10. Use your responses to separate yourself from the competition

Advanced interview preparation and practise is a key method in which you can distinguish yourself from similarly qualified individuals. You may want to try out the company's products and services as a customer to get additional insight into what they do from the consumer perspective. If the opportunity arises, ask targeted questions that demonstrate the hard work you have put into researching the company in advance.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

11. Use active listening

Active listening is made up of behaviours that clearly demonstrate that you are listening to your interviewer. Leaning in, eye contact, and reflecting your interviewer's body language show that you are engaged and responsive. Summarising what has been said is also a part of active listening and is beneficial as it establishes you understand what is being said.

12. Show enthusiasm for the role

Let your interviewer know the things you find exciting or interesting about your new role. Relax and allow your genuine interest to show. You want to make sure that the is no doubt that you want this role and are keen to start working with the team at the earliest opportunity.

13. Craft an impactful closing statement

Selling yourself at interview is all about putting yourself forward as the best candidate. Use the invitation to make a closing statement as another opportunity to leave a great impression. As time is limited refrain from using your elevator pitch or delaying the departure of your interviewer. A simple close, thanking your interviewer for their time and consideration often is best.

14. Don't forget to take advantage of a follow-up email to thank your interviewer

A follow-up email may make all the difference in keeping you front-of-mind as a candidate for a job. Remember hiring managers may be interviewing tens or even hundreds of candidates, so you want to ensure that you stand out by sending an email to thank your interviewer or ask a question that is pertinent to the role.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

Explore more articles