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published: 15 Mar 2024 in Education

Self-presentation, or how to effectively market yourself to an employer

Kamila Brzezińska
Kamila Brzezińska

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Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, how you present yourself to potential employers can be crucial to getting your dream job. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of self-presentation and consider strategies for effective marketing to employers.
Self-presentation, or how to effectively market yourself to an employer

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What is self-presentation?

Self-presentation is, in a nutshell, the intentional presentation of oneself in a way that influences the perception of others.

In the face of competition in the labor market, standing out from the crowd is crucial. However, self-presentation is not just about a finely-tailored outfit or a polished resume; it's about showcasing your unique skills, experiences, and personality in a way that will appeal to employers.


How to create an effective self-presentation strategy?

In the context of a job search, self-presentation encompasses a variety of elements including appearance, communication skills, body language, online presence and professional demeanor. Effective self-presentation thus involves aligning these elements so they form a coherent and compelling narrative that will highlight our strengths and suitability for a particular role.


Step 1: Define your personal brand

At the core of effective self-presentation is the concept of personal brand.

A personal brand is a unique combination of skills, experiences, values, and personality traits that define who you are as a professional.

Building a strong personal brand starts with self-reflection and introspection. To begin, we should identify our strengths, passions, and career goals to use as the foundation of our brand.

Once you have defined the foundation of your brand, it's time to effectively communicate it to potential employers. This involves creating a consistent and coherent message across all possible channels in communication tools, including your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or personal interactions.

Our personal brand should convey what sets us apart from other candidates and why we are the ideal choice for the position.


Step 2: Refine your resume (and cover letter)

Resumes and cover letters are often the first impression we make on a potential employer, so it is critical that they effectively convey our qualifications and values.

When creating a resume, we should focus on highlighting our most relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. It is recommended to use concise language and bullet points, which make it easier for recruiters to quickly identify our qualifications.

Similarly, our cover letter should complement the resume by providing additional context and insight into the candidate's motivations and aspirations. Tailor each cover letter to the specific position you are applying for, so that it addresses the needs of the company and explains how your skills and experiences align with the desired job role.


Step 3: Practice your "elevator pitch"

An elevator pitch, or sometimes elevator speech, is otherwise known as a short, persuasive summary of who you are and what you can offer, designed to capture the listener's interest during a short elevator ride. Mastering your elevator pitch is essential for networking meetings, job interviews, or other professional interactions.

When creating your elevator pitch:

  • focus on a concise (30 to 60 seconds) and engaging presentation of your unique value proposition,
  • try to highlight your key strengths, experiences, and achievements,
  • and explain how these achievements make you the ideal candidate for the position.

Also, remember that practice makes perfect! Keep practicing your speech until it becomes natural and fluid, allowing you to present yourself confidently and make a positive impression on employers.


Step 4: Don't forget about nonverbal communication

In addition to verbal communication, body language plays a key role in how you are perceived by others. Positive nonverbal communication can convey confidence, competence, and professionalism, while a negative one can undermine your credibility.

Therefore, we should pay attention to our posture, facial expressions, and gestures during job interviews and other professional interactions. Maintain eye contact, and smile, preferably sincerely, and use open gestures to convey confidence and enthusiasm.

In turn, avoid fidgeting, hunching, or crossing your arms, as these behaviors can signal nervousness or lack of interest.


Step 5: Build your online presence

Nowadays, our online behavior and presence can significantly affect our professional reputation and credibility. Employers often research candidates online before hiring, so it's important to maintain a positive and professional presence on various digital platforms.

Start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile, which serves as an online resume and a hub for professional contacts. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date, with a professional photo, an attractive headline, and a detailed summary of your skills and experience. Actively engage with your network by sharing relevant content, participating in industry discussions, and networking with professionals in your field.

In addition to the previously mentioned LinkedIn, be sure to have a presence on other social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Here, it's a good idea to consider reviewing our privacy settings to ensure that any personal content is appropriately restricted and consider curating your public posts to reflect our professional image.


Sources:

Center for Career Development, Princeton University, „Developing Your Elevator Pitch”

Kazimierz Michalewski, „Autoprezentacja i prezentacja w mediach”

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