If you’ve managed to land a job interview, you’re probably just as anxious as you are excited. It’s completely normal to be at least a little nervous. After all, this could be your door to the next meaningful chapter in your life. On the other hand, you might find it’s not the right job for you because of a variety of reasons like a particularly crazy boss, not enough money, not the right working hours/conditions, not enough benefits etc.

Whether this job turns out to be your dream job or a nightmare, one thing is for certain, you want the opportunity to find out if its right for you and at the very least have the chance to get hired if it turns out to be the job you want. You don’t want to blow it. This could be the means by which you pay your bills and student loans. SO, while there is no need to panic, you don’t want to take it too lightly either. So, how do you know you’re well prepared enough to present the best possible version of yourself to your potential employer?

You must SELL YOURSELF. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “I don’t want to ‘sell’ myself, I just want the job”. Listen up for a second: No matter what line of work you’re in, no matter what type of company you aspire to work for, there will always be some element of selling in order to get the best possible outcome you want. In some cases, you may need to sell yourself to get the salary you need, the particular position you want, the schedule you prefer or the best benefits package available that some new hires get based on their experience, education, skills, and other factors get that other new hires don’t. Even if it is only for the purpose of getting hired, you will need to sell yourself to that particular company.

When you get to your job interview, your interviewer is the “buyer” and you are the “product”. After all, this company that the employer works for and represents is making a financial investment in you, so it is your job to “sell” them on why exactly they will be investing that money on you (your salary and training).

So, now that we have established the reason why you must sell yourself at your next job interview, let’s look at how to do it.

The first step is to analyze the wants and needs of your prospective employer from their point of view. The means you put yourself in the shoes of your interviewer and decide what kind of person would be the perfect hire in their eyes? The reasons you start from this perspective is because you’re going to very strategically position yourself as the most qualified candidate possessing all the right qualities that satisfy their idea of what the best candidate for this job should bring to the table.

Now, some of the ways you can sell yourself is nothing new or complicated, but still very important. As old school and traditional as this one piece of advice may sound, it could make or break you come interview time. You need to look the part. This means, if you’re a woman, you need to dress in a matching two piece business suit with conservative colors, while keeping the makeup conservative as well.

If you’re a man, you need to wear a matching two piece business suit, preferably dark blue or dark grey. Most experts advise that you avoid black suits because it looks too formal like. Remember when we discussed you being the product that employers are looking for? Then just think about it, how would you feel if you reached for a box of your favorite cereal brand, and the box was open? Would you still take it or put it back? My guess is that you would put it back because it does not “look the part”.

Aside from those practical all around common sense type tips, you also need to do our homework on the company. Now, THIS IS HUGE! This means you need to KNOW as much about the company as you can. This always seems to impress potential employers. When they see that you’ve researched what is important to them as a company, this gives you an edge up over other candidates. Be sure to never mention any conflicts with previous employers, even if you had a crazy boss.

Another way to sell yourself during your job interview is to highlight your achievements as they relate to the exact job description of the job you’re interviewing for. This means keep it relevant. If you have great unrelated skills, they are ok to discuss BUT always remember to cater your previous work history, skills, experience and education to the job you’re interviewing for and how these will be valuable to the company.

Just remember, you are the product, the employer is the buyer. What can you do in order to be the product that the potential buyer wants? Keep this in mind at your next job interview and you should be in good shape.

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