Are you good at talking about yourself?

September 24, 2018

As an interviewer and coach, I’ve spoken with thousands of people from new grad to the C-level executive. It surprises me how many people are not good at talking about themselves. 

Some people seem so at ease while other people struggle. Why is that? After analyzing hundreds of conversations with interviewers and interviewees, I’ve narrowed it down to these 4 reasons:

  1. An unexamined belief about bragging
  2. Not thinking strategically or overthinking
  3. Inexperience or rusty
  4. Not being concise or being too concise

Andy is a marketing executive I interviewed recently, and although he brilliantly marketed for his company, he struggled with talking about himself. Before our call, I reviewed his resume and was excited to speak with him because he seemed very accomplished. It wasn’t long before the conversation turned into a real snooze-fest.

I am going to give you a big tip … you need to bring your A game to every interview and every aspect of the process is an interview.

The job market is super strong right now, but companies continue to be selective when it comes to hiring leaders and people whose work has a high impact on the business. 

If you’re not getting the opportunities you believe you should be getting, or you’ve found that the job you took isn’t what you thought it would be, check out a simple, practical process to help you talk about yourself in an authentic powerful way. I promise you, this a game changer!

First, you have to know yourself. Identify what drives you to create success, your strengths (things that come easy to you), and your values. This is core, foundational work that you will build upon throughout your career.

Second, identify the value you create no matter what role you’re in. Business is about results, but more importantly, how you get results matters most. Do you excel in process, systems, ideas, collaboration, communication, engaging stakeholders, etc.?  

Third, connect the two things above to the role you’re interviewing for, making it easy for people to see you in the role. This will require you to do your homework about the company, industry, market and role so that you strategically share the most important aspects of your work. This step is critical because it sets everyone up for success. Sometimes when you get through this exercise, it’s not a match and will save everyone a lot of time and disappointment.

Fourth, know your audience. Be observant of your interviewers to know if they’re engaged with you or starting to lose interest. I’ve seen many people get a distracted or unprepared interviewer back on track by simply asking a question or increasing their self-awareness to know that something is off and course correct.

Talking about yourself is not bragging. It’s sharing information, selected data that provides appropriate insight into who you are, the value you create, and what people can expect if they hire you. Not every interview will result in a job offer (which sometimes is a good thing), but when you excel at talking about yourself, you’ll find the right opportunities that fit you best.