How to Toot Your Own Horn in an Interview

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An interview is the perfect opportunity to showcase all the awesome things that you bring to the table. After all, you want to stand out from the competition, right? There’s a fine line, however, between highlighting your achievements and sounding like a braggart. The good news is, there are ways for you to effectively sell your skills and communicate how perfect you’d be for the job without coming across as an egomaniac. Here’s how.

Tell a story.

Storytelling is an excellent way to spell out your accomplishments without actually bragging. Rather than coming out directly and saying, “I was promoted four times in three years,” or “I won the XYZ award,” craft a story around how those achievements happened. Then, tie your stories to your unique selling point (USP) to really convey your value.

Give credit freely.

Sure, you may have headed up a successful project that saved your current employer thousands of dollars, but chances are you didn’t do it alone. Another great way to sell your skills and experience without coming across as a me-monster is to give credit to the others who assisted you along the way. Instead of, “I did XYZ,” say “My team and I achieved XYZ.” As a bonus, you’ll also demonstrate your collaboration and teamwork skills.

Tap into emotion.

Rather than spending the whole time talking ad nauseam about the things you’ve accomplished throughout your career, try spinning it to paint a picture of how it felt to achieve those things. For instance, instead of saying, “I did ABC,” say, “When I did ABC, I felt…” This will also help you show more of a human element during your interview.

Back up your claims.

Your bragging points won’t seem so bad provided you back them up with solid proof. That way you’re not simply touting your amazing skills, but actually showing your interviewer what you have to offer and how it can benefit them. Whenever possible, use quantifiable evidence. Rather than saying, “I’m the best salesperson at my current company,” show them how with a statement like: “Sales have increased by 22% since I started.”

Let others do the bragging.

If you’ve truly done amazing things for your previous employers, surely you can convince them to provide you with a letter of recommendation. Even if it’s just a colleague, a glowing endorsement from someone who has personally had the experience of working with you is worth much more than any back-patting you can do for yourself.

Keep it short and sweet.

Last but not least, if you have to brag, make sure you do so in a way that gets right to the point. Nobody (including a prospective employer) wants to listen to you drone on and on about your latest accomplishment. Make your point and then move on.

When you’re being interviewed, you obviously want to make a lasting impression. Gloating about how great you are may help you accomplish that goal – but probably not for the right reason.

 

Remember: there’s a difference between being confident and being cocky. The above tactics should help you reposition your achievements so that you can effectively toot your own horn without rubbing anyone the wrong way.