How to Sell Yourself

Dec 01, 2017 1 Min Read

The good and the bad of leaving the right impression

Selling has always been something that is crucial to just about any part of life. People usually associate sales with a person or an organisation selling a tangible product or a service.

In this age, however, you have to be able to sell not only the things you produce, but also yourself – not as a product, but as a person capable of contributing to a particular project or organisation.

Selling yourself is a key point in the question of whether you will be hired or not. If your “sale” goes successfully, this will not only allow you to get the job but the impression you leave will make further selling – asking for a raise or applying for a promotion – that much easier.

Here are the “good” and “bad” when it comes to selling yourself:


1) Dress to Impress

It has been proven time and again that the first impression, regardless of how unfair they may be – being snap judgments – is the first insight into a person’s assessment of you.

Giving a good impression in terms of dressing style will go a long way.

Dress appropriately for work and professionally for meetings.

If you have some leeway in choosing what to wear, keep it in line with the company’s dress code. Remember, first impressions can last long.

2) Strengths and weaknesses

People tend to downplay weaknesses and advertise strengths whenever they go for an interview.

The most important thing to note is that it is alright to admit your weaknesses and work towards improving them by leveraging your strengths.

By showing that you are working towards improving yourself, you are indicating that you are able to self-evaluate and are taking steps to patch up the weaknesses.

3) Having drive

Being open to new possibilities is a trait that every person should have. If you have the drive to do a particular project, inform your superior that you would like to take it on. Your drive is key to showing that you are dedicated.

4) Flexibility

This is extremely important; being able to bend and adapt to situations is something that can help you go far.

It is not so much that you are thinking out of the box, but more that you are willing to try other people’s ideas if they were to work better than your own.

Flexibility helps keep your mind open. Those who observe you can see that you are keen on suggestions and, if feasible, are willing to work on them.

5) Appreciation

This is something you do not hear very often but showing appreciation for the people who have helped you along the way – or have done something for you – demonstrates that you have
genuine gratitude for people.

This particular point is important because giving proper credit shows that you can admit that you are not solely responsible for your successes.

The Bad

1) Cannot take criticism

Nothing kills interest faster than someone who is not open to criticism. No good pitch comes without its constructive criticisms that are designed to give you suggestions on how to improve and perhaps correct certain mistakes.

If, during this time, you are not keen on such criticism or are vehement about your work, you may come across as close-minded.

2) Talking behind backs

Person A and Person B are good friends. Person A soon realises that everyone has stopped talking to them, and they do not know why. Person B is the only one who talks to them.

Person A finds out that the motive is jealousy over a promotion, one for which Person B was passed over in favour of Person A. Person B subtly plans Person A’s subsequent downfall.

Do not do this. It leaves a sour taste in everybody’s mouths and you could be branded as an untrustworthy person.

Do not put another person down through backbiting for your own

3) Cautious communication

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Physical harm is more likely to heal fully than emotional or psychological harm – in this case, brought about by careless speaking. Keep this in mind when “selling” yourself. Use words that are direct and clear.

Being unclear may result in a misunderstanding and may even cost you the sale and/or your job. Even when interacting with people, keep the same thing in mind.

4) Social media nightmare

It is important to note that everything you post on the Internet stays on the Internet. Everything – the good, the bad and, perhaps the deal-breaker – the ugly.

In this day and age where nearly everyone is connected through social media platforms, you should always be mindful that a potential employer down the road may see your posts and decide not to hire you.

5) Bad body language

Generally, 55% of what is transmitted through communication is your body language – the bits that do not come through speech are the most crucial ones.

Be mindful of your body language and most importantly, be mindful of other people’s personal space.

You should try to read what other people are saying non-verbally so that you can get an idea as to whether what you are saying or doing is leaving a positive or negative impression.

The conclusion

Sales is an interesting area in that, at some point in time, we will all experience it.

Remember that selling is a multi-layered process, which in itself is heavily centred on your ability to convince people to accept your idea, buy your product or even to hire you.  

It takes time and practice but, with consistency, and by cultivating the good and dropping the bad, it will help you get far.

Sara is intrigued by the sales process and believes that selling is human. If you would like to find out how the people in your organisation can pitch effectively and sell better, learn more about our sales and marketing programmes by writing to

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Sara firmly believes that learning is a two-way process between a student and a teacher, and that everyday heroes are just as important as superheroes.

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