How do I sell myself for a new job?

Career & Education

How do I sell myself for a new job?

Sunday, September 01, 2019

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Dear Career Advisor:

I have 10 years' experience working as a customer service representative, the last five years of which were spent in the insurance industry. I am considering a change in careers so I have been researching jobs. I just came across an advertised post for an executive assistant. My qualifications are suitable, but I have no prior experience in this field. My questions are: How do I sell myself for this post? And how do I quantify my accomplishments since I have only been in level-entry jobs?



Dear Peta-Gaye:

Permit me to commend you for recognising that as you embark on your quest for greater responsibilities, the onus is on you to demonstrate that you are not only suitably qualified, but to also show that what you have achieved can be relevant to your desired area of service. Let's now get right into responding to your specific questions.

Marketing yourself as being suited for this position will need to be done in two stages; the first is on your application and the second is during the interview. Once you have mastered the art on your résumé, it will be easier during the interview. Your first step will be to identify those transferrable skills that you have developed, especially over the last 10 years, as a customer service representative, which will be of value to the position of executive assistant. This list may include, but is not limited to:

• Communication – (listening, verbal, and written)

• Organisation

• Time management

• Attention to details

• Problem solving

• Interpersonal

• Technology

Having identified the skills you are excellent at, the next step is to give evidence as to how you have demonstrated them in the course of your current employment. Here are a few strategies to assist you with quantifying these accomplishments.

i. Use action words — Begin each bullet statement with an action word.

ii. Show impact – Highlight specific examples of how the organisation has benefited from your service.

iii. Use the “PAR” technique. Think of a “P” Problem you have solved or helped to solve; the “A”, Action you took to get it resolved; and the “R” the beneficial Results derived from your action(s).

iv. Include recognitions and awards — Showcase your outstanding performance eg: Twice awarded most outstanding customer service rep of the year

v. Show applicability — Provide context and show how your achievements are relevant and applicable to the desired position

vi. Include facts and figures — Numbers rightly used help to convey your credibility in relation to your claims. Whether or not your job naturally lends itself to figures you can use any of these measures to quantify.

a. Dollars — The amount saved for your company; cash or account handled; size of budget managed; attained highest level of retained clients in portfolio.

b. Percentages —Excellent for comparisons, eg, how your contribution improved efficiency or expanded market share or resolved clients' issues.

c. Number – Simply present raw scores in appropriate context

d. Frequency – For eg: “Conducted weekly evaluation of clients' complaints log and assessed case readiness for discharge or follow-up.”

e. Timeframe — for eg: “Met deadlines with 100 per cent accuracy”.

f. Scale – Show the extent to which your input affected outcomes, eg: chaired the Community Impact Committee which organised two social intervention programmes for 30 at-risk male youth.

g. Range — Use range when exact figures are not readily available.

If you give careful consideration to the above strategies and implement them, not only will you have an appealing résumé, you will also be well prepared to ace your interview.

All the best.


Career Advisor


Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at






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