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Sell your success

Published on Saturday, 08 Nov 2014

Job candidates are regularly advised to "sell themselves" at interviews, but what does this mean in practice? One common mistake we see on CVs and at the interview stage is that a candidate will highlight their responsibilities in detail, but will not evangelise their achievements. The scope of a role - size of business, size of team, daily responsibilities - is important, but does not say anything about the impact an individual has on results.

When preparing for an interview, ask yourself what improvements you brought to a business, such as increases in revenue or profitability, cost savings, new accounts developed, staff-retention improvements, and quality issues resolved. Define how these achievements were made and the role you played in their delivery.

A good technique is to break down achievements into categories such as commercial (sales, revenue and costs); technical (processes); and interpersonal (leadership and teamwork), and then identify two examples in each category.

Rehearse explaining each of these, focusing on describing the goal, the barriers to achieving it, how they were overcome, how the outcome was recognised by the business and what the ongoing affects are. Aim to make the interviewer imagine you in their company solving their problems. This will also provide you with a "portfolio" of examples in answer to most questions.

Don't be afraid to close an interview by selling achievements that were not drawn out in the discussion. The "do you have any more questions?" query is an opportunity to add a specific example that is relevant to the interviewer's business and could leave a positive and lasting impression.


Mathew Gollop, group managing director, ConnectedGroup

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