Applying for a job is a complex task: you must present yourself as the best candidate, without crossing the line of truthfulness. Yanna Van Theemsche, recruitment consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, shares some insights on how to sell yourself effectively without lying.

Prepare well

A job application requires preparation, especially when it comes to discussing your strengths and weaknesses. So, take some time to think about this in advance and come up with some concrete examples of how you can add value to the organisation you are applying to. "However, do not overdo this: after all, bragging too much does not come across as sincere to recruiters. It is important to remain true to yourself," says Yanna.

Put a positive spin on your working points

At every job interview, your weaknesses will also be discussed. Not exactly the most pleasant subject but remember that nobody is perfect. The way you describe your working points during the interview is crucial. Yanna: "Present your weaker points in a positive way and show that you are willing to work on them. This way, you not only show that you are aware of your weaknesses and are honest about them, but also that you are motivated to grow."

Turn setbacks into experiences

You may have faced some setbacks before in your career. For example, you did not complete your education, or you were away from the job market for a while, or laid off. "Don't lie about this, but shift the focus to what you learned from such a setback," Yanna advises. "Did an internship or previous work experience disappoint? You can also express this positively during your job interview. In this way, you can demonstrate with concrete examples which tasks you did not like as much, and that in your search for a new job you want to avoid these very tasks. A candidate who knows what he does and does not like is always attractive to employers."

Don't be too modest

Modesty is a virtue, but during a job application, it is important to be proud of your achievements. "Feel free to show off your accomplishments. Did you graduate with an award? Or is there a particular project you worked on at your previous employer that you are very proud of? Your CV and job interview are the ideal time to highlight these achievements. Just be careful not to let your self-confidence turn into arrogance. After all, that will not make a good impression on your potential employer," warns Yanna.

Lying is out of the question

However, selling yourself is not the same as lying. "When applying for a job, the idea is to show your best side, so that your potential employer sees what you are worth. Lying or exaggerating is really not done. Being caught in a lie during your application not only leaves a bad impression, it also increases the chances of missing the job considerably. If you lie about your current employer and they find out, chances are slim that you will get a positive reference from them. So plenty of reasons not to lie on your CV or during your application," concludes Yanna.


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