Too many people resort to a false image of themselves to get noticed, rather than trusting in and selling themselves as effectively as they can. Here are three ways to help you put your best foot forward, without lying or exaggerate:
1. Be specific with your achievements.
Vagueness is the most common pitfall for devaluing actual credible achievements. Many people – often unintentionally – generate suspicion through vagueness: gaps in employment, ‘personal reasons’, not including a degree mark or the years of study, can all put the reader off. And don’t load the job descriptions on your CV with dull duties – just go for two to three, then shift to your impact. Use figures and stats to make your achievements clear, strong, and believable. An achievement can also be what you learned – but be specific, what did it mean to you and the business – and why?
2. Be a strong choice, not the ‘perfect’ choice.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to say you’re the best. You’ll drift into a bad sales pitch, claiming you’re perfect. In your cover letter and interviews, demonstrate how your passion and experience is in line with the needs of the business and the particular role. It’s about appearing as someone keen to learn, that recognises their strengths and weaknesses and that’s a relatively risk-free choice. A realistic and logical career outlook is key. Another trap is being too enthusiastic – it can backfire: a burning desire for promotion gives the impression you’ll get itchy feet after a few months and implies you have an inflated view of your own ability.
3. Be the real you; focus on your passion, not your image.
Use your cover letter to explain your story and what motivates you and why. Use a specific example or two to add credible evidence. Sell your passion, not your ego. Explain why you love what you do, not why people should love you. Are you really a reflection of perfection? Does everything you touch, really turn to… gold? No. Be yourself, but don’t slip into a caricature of yourself. Put yourself out there – but the real you.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”