Karen Darrin

Many of you may ask yourself that question when you did not get the job, promotion, or even lateral position within your organization. You felt energized after the interviews and yet surprisingly, did not get the role. Why not? What could you have done differently?

There is no “magic bullet,” so to speak, but there is one essential question you need to clearly articulate before you interview: “Why should they hire you?”  Your answer, spoken with confidence and conviction, is a form of self-promotion. Here you need to express how your unique skills, experiences, education and talents are ideal for this job and how this job is vital to the organization achieving XYZ (XYZ is goal, strategy, or corporate initiative you have researched from the organization’s site, social media, annual reports, your detailed research and discussions with current employees in your network who work there). Your research and clear articulation of how you can help them are key elements to being offered the job. This is self-promotion at its best.

Professionals who have mastered the art of self-promotion are generally able to make job changes much faster. They enjoy strong reputations in their field and can quickly activate their network to help them transition seamlessly. They know how to leverage their past successes to create future opportunities.

Of course, if you haven’t done it in a while, or if you’ve considered self-promotion a distasteful skill, it can be hard to know where to start. How do you talk yourself up without turning people off? Better yet, how do you do it in a way that sparks real interest and inspires authentic, productive conversations? If no one knows how great you are, you simply won’t get ahead. Here is how to self-promote with confidence:

-Tailor your personal brand statement to their needs.

What are the 3 big problems you can solve? What are the 3 marquee accomplishments at your last job, and how can they be used at your next one? Place the focus entirely on what they’re looking for, and what you can do for them (not what you want) and the time will come in the interview when your possible contribution to solving their problems will knock their socks off. Here is an example from a seasoned marketing person:

“I am a “practiced hand” that generates creative marketing solutions by adjusting the solutions to each company’s mission, product, strategy and industry. Here at Acme with your (insert researched strategy or goal), I would foresee a game plan that might include… (insert appropriately researched ideas). These are just ideas from my external research, but you can see how energized I am to contribute my marketing talents to this organization.”

-Identify what differentiates you from your competition.  

To answer this, you need to identify two things: 1) What are your biggest strengths; and, 2) What are the most important strengths for the job you are applying for? You then put those two answers together in a compelling way. Here is an example from an experienced sales executive for a business development/sales role:

“Two of my biggest strengths are creativity and collaboration. With this BD role, my drive for creative collaborations would incentivize me to find new business relationships, not only for sales on your established products, but also for ongoing dialogue on what other problems this organization might have that we can solve. I thrive on creatively coming up with ways to establish long-term business partnerships!”

You need visibility. To get that, you’ll have to self-promote without being obnoxious or overly “braggy.” Start with your current leader. Update him or her with weekly status reports that quantify your results. Check in as often as he or she wants. Worse case, these status reports are input to your self-review and resume/portfolio.

Remember that not everything is in your control and the lack of offers isn’t necessarily your fault. If you feel good about your efforts, perhaps there are other factors affecting hiring from, for example,  internal company miscommunications to reorgs to diminished sales performance. Any number of things can happen with a job opening and most of them are more about the organization’s maneuvers than your actions.

Bottom Line:  If you didn’t get the job or promotion, that wasn’t your position. Take a deep breath and get back in the game. Focus on what you just learned and the fact that you are day closer to your next career move.

CALL TO ACTION:  Need help with how to manage through your job search? Let’s outline strategies together. Schedule a Free 30-min Consult or email me at karen@karendarrin.com.

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