Saturday, 13 June 2009

#jobat for luckiest employee or wondering why I find it hard to sell myself?

Calling for your help, because there is this weird feeling that I cannot seem to put my finger on. I think that as educators we can promote others, we can promote our learning, our projects... but we loose the ability to sell ourselves.

This week I got selected as one of the ten luckiest employees in Flanders, which is motivating in itself, but something happened during the interview, and that has happened to me when I apply for a job.

So my question to you is: how do you sell yourself (as a person who is into eLearning/learning) and is it easy for you to do so?

Let me tell you why this question came to mind or first let me situate the setting...
The 10 luckiest employees were chosen based on a written, more general statement and the writing part is somehow easier to produce, because it focused on the institute that I work for and I can sell that, because I like it.
After this selection a personal interview followed. All ten of us laureates of this competition (the real finalist will be chosen next week and is chosen based on an interview they took from all of us) needed to do an interview with a jury of 5 people. They asked questions, I answered and after the interview I suddenly found myself wondering about what I said and especially what I did not say?

This made me think... I did mention my employer during the interview, I did talk about a lot of things, but I somehow managed not to talk about the things that make me get out of bed and jump into eLearning and into work? How strange is this?
I did NOT mention the fact that I use new media with great pleasure, that I can travel, that I can discuss my research with peers in many ways, that I love the international aspect... all of these factors make the difference, so why did I just focus on the working environment in general and very little on myself?

Why could not I sell myself in the same way, based on the facts that really do it for me? Apparently, being in education and working mainly to motivate learners has made me focus on benefits for others. Give me a group and I dare to say I can get the energy flowing, but everytime I need to sell myself purely for myself, I forget things, and mostly the facts...

The same happens when I go for a new job, if I am not 'headhunted' (= asked by someone who knows my work), I have great difficulty telling people why I would be a good addition to their team (and let me assure you, I really suck at it. My friends have a great time when I tell them what happened during those interviews - sigh), what I do is go for how great they are...

So is anybody out there having the same experience? Could this be part of being an educator that is mainly focused on improving others?


  1. I guess what you need is to hone your 'personal branding' skills :) And I don't think that's easy! I mean any person can talk about himself or herself, write a short bio, etc. but I never find it easy to write a few short sentences that shows what kind of a difference I make.

    Maybe conducting a very short survey and asking people simple questions such as "Hey, why do you think working me is a delight? Is it? Really? Why exactly?" and then summarizing the results would be a solid step towards personal branding.

  2. I think it's merely the fact that you're a woman. Don't think it's got anything to do with being an educator.

    By the way, congratulations!

  3. Sometimes it can be that we take the other persons level of knowledge for granted...we think they are we at in terms of our thinking and experience. In these situations its tricky to try to predict the interviewers real level of knowledge and then pitch your responses to that prediction. Asking questions to clarify their understanding to help you draft your responses can help too. Good luck, I have enjoyed following your posts and know you will be sucessful with it soon!

  4. What great thoughts!

    @Emre, That is a good idea, I should get an idea of how others see me, who I think I am and summarize it.

    @Linda: you might be right, but than again I do know women that can promote themselves like no one else. Maybe I should talk to them as well?

  5. @Michael, this hits the spot right on ... after reading your comment I got thinking and your comment feels very relevant. Improving communication by asking clarifying questions is a great strategy that I will follow. The difficulty is indeed that I do not want to give the others the impression that I would underestimate them.
    Thank you for your remarks!