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Time to Toot Your Own Horn Katie Ross, Employment Facilitator at the Employment Resource Centre in Newmarket

About the Author

Katie Ross is a Facilitator at the Employment Resource Centre in Newmarket. Drop in (130 Davis Dr. Unit 11) and discover how you can market yourself in the best possible way. Check out our website for more information

Malcolm S. Forbes

Why are we so humble when it comes to selling ourselves -- especially to an employer? If I were to ask you about the accomplishments of your son, daughter, brother, sister, best friend or esteemed colleague, you would probably come up with a litany of glowing praise, admiration and probably several examples.

However, when the shoe is on the other foot and we are asked by an employer to describe ourselves ...we often come out sounding like an underachieving half wit!

When asked ''How well do you do your job'' I can't count the number of people who respond with 'well, wouldn't that be bragging'...or...'but that's arrogant'.

'The definition of 'arrogant' is 'Full of or due to unwarranted pride and self-importance; overbearing; haughty'... The keyword here is 'unwarranted'.

When asked about your achievements you might use examples such as ....time saved, commission earned, sales made, customers served, accolades won -- this is not arrogance or bragging...if you saved the company $10,000 by researching and renegotiating a new photocopier contract, won every sales contest your company had, successfully handled over 200 calls a day without dropping one .... this is a description of how you did your job. Tell them about it! By using measurable and clarifying examples you not only communicate your achievements, it also gives you an opportunity to link your relevant experience to the job you are seeking.

Being aware of, and able to identify, how you were a benefit to your last employer is not 'unwarranted pride'. It is a simple statement of fact, and indeed demonstrates to the potential employer that you know what makes the business successful. Employees' successes are usually also those of the company.

Being able to describe your achievements in a clear, concise, confident manner is not conceit; rather, it is an effective way to answer the dreaded 'tell me about yourself' question. Moreover, researching ourselves and documenting our past successes not only helps when designing resumes, writing cover letters or preparing for interviews, it may also boost your self confidence.

If you are not able to explain how your experience and skills are an asset to the employer, who will?

The time to toot is now!

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