How to Sell Yourself in Any Situation

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Leah Thomas866
June 13, 2024 at 3:58PM UTC
In this day and age, you're likely to become your own marketing committee when it comes to chasing down job opportunities. You never know when you might meet someone who could be a good professional connection — even someone who may have a job opportunity to offer you — and you'll need to pitch yourself as a potential hire. 
It's best to prepare for these scenarios because they'll likely happen unexpectedly. And though this may sound intimidating, we're here to simplify it for you.

What is the best way to market yourself?

There are many ways to market yourself, and they can each be as effective as the next. You just need the right tools to piece them together. Depending on how much time you're given — from an unexpected 30 second elevator pitch to a pitch to your boss for a promotion — we’ve outlined several ways in which to sell yourself, successfully. But first, some simple marketing tips applicable to each and every pitch type you may have to give.

Quick tips on marketing yourself

1. Know your audience.

Know exactly who you're pitching to, their position and what this means for your angle. Depending on who you're speaking to, your tone, message, main points, etc. may change. You may be more conversational if you're pitching to someone of your same experience level at a different company in comparison to the more serious tone you would probably have with your own boss. Do your research to prepare yourself on their own experience, things you may have in common you can reference and what they are looking for exactly in a potential hire. 

2. Identify what makes you sell-able.

Some people call this your USP, or your Unique Selling Point. Spend some time identifying your best professional traits, your most relevant work experience and assignments you're particularly proud of that you think may be relevant in this specific pitch. Discover what it is that truly makes you stand out as a potential employee, and stress this during your pitch. 

3. Be yourself.

Don’t shy away from showing your personality in a pitch. By being personable, you're adding that extra level to help an employer remember you. They want someone who will get along well with other employees and who doesn't seem like a human robot created solely to push out assignments and meet deadlines (even though you should also stress you'll be doing both of those things!). Mention any hobbies or passions you have that may be relevant. And, again, consider your audience when deciding how much of your personality to show. You want to always remain professional!

4. Remember you're marketing your value, not just yourself.

It may be uncomfortable to feel like you're bragging about your accomplishments, but that is the whole point of pitching yourself. You're expected to convince them why you would be an asset to their team, and you need to do so by illustrating your past achievements. Think of your accomplishments as supporting evidence to why you would be a good employee. Don't give them a reason to question whether or not you would be a solid addition to their team. 

5. Be genuine and passionate.

People respond well to passion and genuineness. Show that you care about the field you're in and the work you're doing. People are more likely to do a better job when they are motivated by a passion rather than simply the fear of being fired. Also, be confident (but not arrogant!). Show pride in what you've accomplished in your professional career — you’ve earned it! And believe that you will make a great employee because you've shown in your past that you are.

How exactly to sell yourself

In 30 seconds

This is sometimes called an “elevator pitch.” If you're short on time (i.e. you aren’t given a formal interview, but rather, ran into someone and need to pitch yourself fast), you can do so in just 30 seconds. But you must prepare for these spontaneous incidences. A 30 second pitch should include: who you are, what you do and what you want to be doing in your future career (especially in relation to the person you're pitching). Your quick pitch should be a rundown of your resume — choose the most relevant work experience to talk about, and make sure you do so in layman’s terms, as to not waste time explaining terminology that may be unfamiliar. Add a bit of your own personality and details about what goals you want to achieve and how this particular position could help you do so. 

In 60 seconds

If you're given a little more time, carry out your 30 second pitch but add in a specific story relevant to the person you're talking to. Tell him/her about a time where you succeeded in the workplace and helped your company benefit. Talk about a career goal you achieved that also benefited the company: maybe you landed a client you and your manager had been after for a while, maybe an idea you proposed helped your company meet their fiscal goal for that quarter. Use this extra time to detail a way in which you're a promising hire. It'll give this person will have a specific story in which to remember you by.

For a promotion

Asking for a promotion is probably one of the scariest categories of self pitching. Luckily, it does not have to be as terrifying as it may seem. First, make sure you discuss a promotion at the right time (i.e. not at company happy hour or in the elevator after work). You should schedule a formal review with your supervisor with the goal of discussing your future and your career goals within the company. Let this be known, as well. And, again, you must make your case for this promotion. Showing up to work on time every day is not cause for a promotion. Don't be shy about highlighting your accomplishments. 

If there is a time to brag, it’s now! Come prepared with specific examples of positive things you’ve done in your current position, positive changes you’ve brought to your team, successful ideas you’ve pitched, etc. And then outline exactly what you would bring to the table in a potential promotion and how your organization would be better because of it. Show your boss why it's in her best interest to promote you. Don't focus on how you would benefit from a promotion (that's obvious), but rather, how the company would.

Why this is an important skill

Networking can be one of the most important influential aspects of your career path. As we mentioned before, you never know when you'll meet someone who may have an opportunity that is perfect for you. And no one can advocate for your own accomplishments better than you. Whether you're pitching yourself for an opening at a new company or asking for a raise from your own boss, being able to market yourself as an asset to a company will only allow you to further your career and, in the end, help you to achieve your goals. 

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