Highlight Your Talents During a Job Interview Without Bragging

By Harvard Business Review
February 16, 2018

In a perfect world, job interviewers would be able to gauge your talents with great accuracy, without any need for self-promotion. But talents can be notoriously hard to judge, particularly in short-term interactions such as job interviews.

How can you communicate yours without coming across as a showoff?

Here are four suggestions:

Briefly quantify your most relevant experience: People will want to be reassured that you have performed specific tasks in the past. But it is essential that you keep it brief. People who talk too much about themselves are often perceived as arrogant or narcissistic.

Speak about your passion rather than your skills: For some reason, it is OK to be enthusiastic about your interests and passions, but not so much about your talents. If you report that you enjoy managing teams, it may suggest that you are a good leader without you having to brag about it.

Focus on your potential: Describe the key qualities of your potential, including learning ability, drive and people skills, and provide concrete examples. Employers largely decide whom to employ and promote based on these qualities.

Turn your fans into advocates: While references are a poor predictor of future performance, they can play a very important role in determining your success. The right things said by the right person will matter more than any objective indicator of talent.

 Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Career Planning

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