Don’t Sell Yourself Short

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A shot inside the bookstore I talked myself out of managing.

I talked myself out of being hired as the manager of a used book store, this afternoon. I already have a job. I was hired a couple of days ago for a temporary job lasting until October. So I didn’t have that additional pressure of unemployment hanging over me when I arrived for my interview. I did have an upset stomach, and as usual my cataracts made everyone blurry. Some customers came into the store and I realized that if I worked there I wouldn’t see their faces if they tried to get my attention. This bothered me a great deal. I consoled myself with the knowledge that my vision will very likely be improved after surgery which would hopefully occur next month. Not the right state of mind to be in going into an interview.

I was just honest with them. They were nice people, very honest and straight-forward themselves. I could see myself working for them. But I sold myself short. I gave them all the reasons they shouldn’t hire me, instead of the reasons they should. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did say that I would be very enthusiastic about the job, and devote myself to it, and that I was very good with people. All true. But I was apprehensive, thinking I would be getting in over my head. They appreciated my saying that. But the truth was they needed someone they wouldn’t have to spend too much time training. They also wanted someone well versed in used books, and I had just a small bit of used book experience. I felt out of place, when I should have been finding reasons to feel at home there. I emailed them afterward saying how they couldn’t find a more dependable and committed manager than myself. Which isn’t bragging, when I take on a job I care about I put all of myself into it. It becomes my life. All things I should have pointed out in the interview. Alas.

So here is the lesson. Don’t sell yourself short. Go into an interview upbeat and giving them all the reasons to hire you. If you have reservations about the job keep them to yourself. Because an interview isn’t just a conversation, it is about selling yourself. I failed this afternoon at selling myself. I guess I didn’t really want the job because I was afraid I would be overwhelmed and do a terrible job. I wanted to spare these nice people and myself that experience. Fair enough. But it didn’t need to be like that. I could also have looked at it entirely differently. I would have a lot to learn, but I could have handled it after a few stressful months of on the job training. As I said, I have a job already, so all is not lost. Still, I wish I had approached the interview differently, Let this be a lesson to you. Don’t sell yourself short! or you will beat yourself up afterward just like I am.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Your point is very important. Preparing mentally for an interview is just as important as any other factor in the job search process. It does sound as if you eliminated yourself from this position – but that is alright. Sometimes our gut feelings are the best indicator that a position is not a great match! Loved the post and please keep writing about your experiences. – Dr. Marla Gottschalk

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