Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You’ll learn why it is important to sell yourself to employers
  • Next, you’ll learn different techniques to sell yourself
  • Finally, you’ll learn how selling yourself does not have to compromise your authenticity or values

I was giving a talk recently and someone in the audience was frowning the entire time. Then I started to talk about the importance of selling yourself to employers, especially the early gatekeepers who typically do not have the same expert skills that the job candidate applying to a skilled job has.

This is when the same person started shifting in their seat uncomfortably. Finally they raised their hands and asked, “what about for those of us who don’t like the thought of selling ourselves; those who think perhaps its unethical to say ‘I’m the best fit for this job or can be the best fit’ if you’re not sure of it”. I said I understood how they felt and that stepping out to tell someone that you can do the job isn’t an ethical dilemma – it’s not about confidence or faking it or anything sleazy; it’s simply about self-efficacy – the belief that you can learn how to do the job. You’re capable of doing it.

That’s what you’re selling. And unless you’re willing to sell the idea that you’re capable and competent, you will never get hired. Look – to get hired, you’re going to have to sell yourself to an employer. There’s no way around it. No one will ever hire you on your merits alone. Even in academia, it’s not always the best CV that gets the job.

Humans are relational and no matter how much dislike or even disdain or disgust you have for selling, you will either learn to do it effectively to get into a top career, or you’ll stay in bottom level positions working for those who do sell themselves effectively.

I understand the idea of “selling yourself” to an employer, or selling in general, can be met with skepticism and even discomfort. Many of us are wary of the notion that we must package ourselves like a product and market our skills and abilities as if we were commodities.

However, it’s essential to understand that there’s a way to navigate the job search process without compromising your authenticity. Selling yourself doesn’t mean you have to fabricate or exaggerate your qualifications or personality.

Instead, focus on showcasing your true self, emphasizing your genuine strengths, skills, and experiences. Authenticity builds trust with employers and fosters a positive connection. In this way, work to create a compelling narrative rather than creating a sales pitch.

Think of your self-presentation as a compelling story. Highlight your career journey, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the lessons you’ve learned. Stories resonate with people on a personal level and make you more relatable.

Then, identify your unique selling proposition, or your USP. What sets you apart from other candidates? Reflect on your distinct skills, experiences, and qualities that make you a valuable asset to the organization. Highlight these unique aspects in your applications and interviews.

If you don’t like the idea of promoting yourself, then shift your focus to how you can solve the employer’s problems or meet their needs. Understand the company’s challenges and demonstrate how your skills and expertise can address them effectively.

And no, being passionate about the job you want doesn’t make you look salesy, sleazy or desperate. Employers appreciate candidates who are genuinely enthusiastic about the role and the company. Share your passion for the field, the industry, and the specific organization. Passion is contagious and can be a compelling selling point.

Finally, masterful selling, and ethical selling, means being willing to discuss your limitations, which everyone has. Authentic self-promotion doesn’t mean hiding your weaknesses or shortcomings. Acknowledge areas where you’re still growing and learning. Demonstrating self-awareness and a willingness to improve can be seen as a positive trait.

In conclusion, selling yourself to an employer doesn’t have to involve compromising your authenticity or values. Instead, focus on showcasing your true self, your unique strengths, and your passion for the role and the organization.

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