Applying for a job is no easy task. You are expected to show the best of yourself, both on your CV and during a job interview. Of course you want to stand out from all the other candidates, and make a good impression. A little self pride is certainly not out of place here! If you are too modest, you will not stand out from the other candidates.
However, selling yourself is not without risk: the leap to lying is short, and lies never belong on a CV or in a job interview. Sharon Blomme, Managing Consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, takes a moment to consider what is acceptable and what is not.
Talking about yourself on your CV or in a job interview requires some preparation. "During a job interview you will undoubtedly be asked what your strengths and weaknesses are. So take the time to think about this, and especially how you can highlight your strengths, possibly with the help of a concrete example, and how this can represent added value for the organisation you are applying to. But don't overdo it: after all, too much bragging does not come across as sincere to recruiters. It is important to always remain genuine," Sharon warns.
Put a positive spin on your weaknesses
“The way you describe yourself in your CV and during an interview is crucial. Sharon: "Nobody is perfect, so everyone has some weaknesses. Are you prone to stress, or do you find it difficult to speak in front of an audience? Feel free to mention it, but also tell them you want to work on it. That way, your potential employer will know that you are aware of your weaknesses and that you are willing to do something about them. Also, don't say for example that you are dominant or bossy, but rather that you are self-confident and assertive. “
Turn setbacks into experiences
It is possible that you have already experienced some setbacks. For example, you did not complete your education, or you have been away from the labour market for a while, or were fired. "Don't lie about this, but focus on what you have learned from such a setback. Did you have a disappointing internship or previous work experience? You can also express this positively during your job interview. You can use concrete examples to show which tasks you disliked and that you want to avoid these in your search for a new job," says Sharon. A candidate who knows what he does and does not want is always attractive for employers.
Don't be too modest
In many cases it is seen as a virtue, but during a job interview it is best to leave your modesty behind. "Don't be afraid to show off your achievements. Did you graduate with distinction? Or is there a particular project you worked on at your previous employer that you are very proud of? Your CV and the job interview are the ideal moment to emphasise these achievements. However, be careful that your self-confidence does not turn into arrogance. That will not make a good impression on your potential employer" warns Sharon.
Lying is not acceptable
Keep in mind that selling yourself is not the same as lying. "While applying for a job, you are supposed to show your best side, so that your potential employer sees what you are worth. Lying or exaggerating in this respect is absolutely out of the question. Being caught in a lie during your application does not only leave a bad impression, it also significantly increases the chance that you will miss the job. If you lie about your current employer and they find out, the chances are slim that you will get a positive reference from them. Reasons enough not to lie on your CV or during your application", concludes Sharon.