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We spin ourselves all the time-to find a date or a mate, to make
a good impression on our elders, to join a club or society. Spinning
merely involves presenting those aspects of ourselves that are likely
to be appealing to others. It is not enough to come off this way
or that way. You take control of the message you convey to the interviewer.
The clearer the spin, the sharper is the appeal.
All you must do, then, is figure out how to use your self-knowledge
and company knowledge to market yourself. Skip the tag line, but
do formulate a coherent message about yourself. This is the message
that you want to reemphasize throughout the interview as you answer
a variety of questions. Using the information that you gathered
from the exercises in Know Yourself, make a list of your transferable
skills, your inherent qualities, and your personality traits that
would be relevant to this job.
Brainstorm what you offer the position. Suzanne’s list follows.
|Experience-based Skills||Transferable Skills||Personal Qualities|
|HTML Coding||Project Management||Dependable|
|Vendor Relations||Clear Communication||Accessible|
|Quality Assurance Practices||Team Leadership||Initiative|
Take a careful look at your list to determine
which of the skills and qualities seem most relevant to the position
you are seeking. For the consultant position that Suzanne is seeking,
client relations and quality assurance practices seem most relevant
from the experience-based skills category. Each of the skill from
the transferable skills category is relevant, so she chooses to
emphasize negotiation, problem-solving, project management, and
writing. She anticipates that the personal qualities required for
this position include creativity, dependability, initiative, and
Generate concise anecdotes.
Once you have
created a short-list of skills and qualities that you offer the
company, compile a set of stories and facts that illustrate your
unique abilities. When doing so, remember a few guidelines:
- Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are right
for the job.
- Be specific.
- Highlight information readily understood as transferable.
- Accentuate accomplishments.
- Connect your past experience to the position you seek.
- Reveal your values.
- Remember your audience and their values.
- Keep your presentation under two minutes.
Identify your basic message.
skill profile, knowledge of the employer and job, and these guidelines
in mind, Suzanne might develop an overall interview message like
“I will bring to this consultancy position a combination of skills
and qualities that I am confident would make me a valuable contributor
to the company. In my previous position as a Project Manager, I
spearheaded the development of multi-media projects that exceeded
the expectations of our clients. I could not succeed without my
teams. Although my teams and I faced multiple obstacles, I used
my problem-solving skills and judgment to overcome barriers in a
way that satisfied the interests of our clients, my company, and
my teams. I was able to gain the trust and confidence of the team
members. My communication and negotiation skills enabled me to lead
frazzled and sometimes antagonistic teams of people to work together
in a focused and productive way. Since this pressure-cooker experience,
I have gained licensure as a court mediator, and I have a master’s
degree in conflict resolution.
“In addition to my ability to mobilize teams by overcoming conflict
and confusion, my company made use of my organizational skills and
my self-initiative. I was able to work with a minimum of supervision,
but consulted the company directors when I needed their input, guidance,
or support. Since I was responsible for creating the concepts and
content of the projects that I managed, my self-direction enabled
me to balance multiple responsibilities while still carving out
time to generate winning ideas and write content.”
Identify the bottom line.
she wants to communicate her basic message throughout the interview,
Suzanne then clarifies the core of what she has to offer:
“I offer your company and this position effective negotiation and
communication abilities, creative problem solving and project management
skills, inner drive and initiative, and strong writing skills. My
colleagues here would find me dependable and flexible.”