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Lee Wilkinson

TEDCRED 20+

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Why do we sell ourselves so badly?

I have just finished being part of a team of interviewers for a major corporation and the main thing I noticed was that people in general do a poor job of selling themselves even when give the opportunity and encouragement to do so. It seems like a built in system that stops us from being our own best promoter and we default to putting on the brakes. Why is this? Are we hard wired to default to self destruction instead of self promotion?

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    Jan 23 2012: well I can speak for myself. given a choice, i would not sell myself at all! i want my work to speak for me and i expect others to give time to understand me and my work. if someone wants someone good for the job, then they need to invest most time to get to know the person i think.
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      Jan 25 2012: I suppose the problem with that is that it needs to be sold in the first place in order to be in a position to speak for it's self. Take an actor for instance, it's no good acting if there is no audience to see your work and in order for that to happen some selling needs to be done. In fact in order for one to be able to act (Usually) we need to audition and sell to the director that we are the one for the role. That done we can then allow our work to speak for it's self. This I believe is transferable to any subject.
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      Jan 26 2012: I agree Shweta, that it is ideal to let our work speak for us. Before that happens, however, we need to have the opportunity to show our work. Prior to that, the only things we have are the written words on a resume, and our presentation of ourselves. Yes, idealy the interviewer will take time, however, that is not often the case, is it? If we always expect others to take time to understand us and our work, we may be disappointed. Realistically, interviewers usually have a certain amount of time to give to each applicant. In that time, I feel that it is our responsibility to show the interviewer who s/he might be hiring. The only way we can do that is to show him/her how we might "fit" in the position.
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        Jan 26 2012: Hi Collen and Lee! I agree! Thankfully, I was lucky that for my first few opportunities, all I had to do was work and just be who I am/was. I got the oppotunities without the need to showcase anything. The interesting or challenging thing today is that I dont like selling myself as I never had to do so in past! and This is why I dont always enjoy the interviews and fellowship applications! :)
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          Jan 26 2012: AWWWWW, so this is new, and a change for you Shweta! I understand, because for the first few years of my adult life, it seems that opportunities were presented to me as well, and I didn't have to "showcase" myself or abilities. The concept of showcasing myself, talents, skills or proving myself worthy of the job, started with the acting career, and it was a GREAT lesson. You are wise to percieve it as an interesting challenge:>) In order to showcase ourselves and abilities, we need to know ourselves on another level, so in my perception, it challenges us to know ourselves differently, and that was a gift to me. Hope it works out to be a gift for you as well:>)

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