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Presenting Yourself

An image of a road to the horizon with text career


Applications and resumes get your foot in the employer’s door but now YOU are the product and you need a marketing mindset. We help sell ourselves by making a good first impression (appearance and demeanor) then energetically using our conversation, body language and positive attitude to convince the employer that we are the right person for the job.

Skill Definition:

  • I dress for success. My attitude, conversation and body language help me “sell myself”.

Key Learning Points:

  • Your appearance, demeanor, and the way you answer questions convince the interviewer that you possess the skills and personal attributes necessary to be successful on the job.

Learning Path:

  • Review the “dress for success” tips below. Have a trusted friend or family member critique your chosen interview attire.
  • Review the tips below regarding body language, mindset and conversation. Assess yourself on the key points. If possible, have someone make a video of you during a mock interview and observe how you present yourself.

Deeper Topics:

  • General Tips:
    • Your appearance is important and your first impression does matter. People make assumptions about you based on how you present yourself.
    • You are more likely to receive respect and get what you want if you are dressed and speak appropriately for your surroundings.
    • Your appearance should be consistent with your message.
  • Attire – Dress for Success: Your goal is to make an initial good impression!
    • Dress one or two levels up. If you were going for a job as a mechanic, you wouldn’t go in there in dirty overalls, even though that’s how you would dress for that kind of work. You would still go in there and show respect. You would go in with an open-collar shirt, clean pants and maybe a jacket.”
    • Be well groomed. Take a shower. Don’t smell like you’ve just come from the gym. Wash and comb your hair.
    • Don’t be too true to yourself. “If you want to have eight earrings and have your tongue pierced, that’s fine, but you’re showing you don’t know how to play the game. If it’s so important to you, go ahead and dress like you normally do, but realize that you may not get the job.”

Adapted from Dress Appropriately for Interviews by Thad Peterson on Monster.com

  • Body Language:  Effective non-verbal communication techniques are as essential as your verbal communication skills. Non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview!
    • Use the right posture. Relax and lean slightly forward, about 10 degrees, towards your interviewer. This gives the message that you are both interested and involved.
    • What to do with your hands. Control your hands by being aware of what you are doing with them.
    • Make eye contact. Interview body language experts suggest that when you are doing the talking you need to hold eye contact for periods of about 10 seconds before looking away briefly and then re-establishing eye contact. Over-using direct eye contact when you are speaking can come across as challenging the interviewer.
    • Monitor your voice delivery. Speaking in a clear and controlled voice conveys confidence.

Adapted from Interview Body Language on Best-Job-Interview.com

  • Mindset:
    • Remember the key motivations for why you are seeking this job. Affirm that you deserve the job and psyche yourself up.
    • Do your homework on the company you are interviewing for. Come prepared with a few questions.
    • Relax by taking a deep breath. Have your elevator speech memorized since it is a likely starter question.
    • Have a learning mindset. Even if you don’t get the job this interview should help prepare you for others.
  • Conversation:
    • Listen. Your mind might be racing to what you want to say but it’s important to hear the question first.
    • Take a few seconds to form your response.
    • Talk confidently. Sell yourself but don’t oversell.
    • Tell the truth.
    • Use good grammar; avoid slang.

There are three core concepts that you should pay very close attention to presenting to the interviewing manager: 1) you will solve the problems of the company 2) you are the best candidate for the job, and 3) you will fit in with the culture of the company. Practice and memorize the key things you want to say.

Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:

Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:

  • How can you be “true to yourself” yet desirable in the eyes of the employer?
  • Am I willing to make compromises to get a job?

Tools and Templates:

  • None at this time.

Word Definition:

Web Sites/Short Stories/Essays:


  • Need a recommendation.


  • Need a recommendation.


  • “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Unknown

One-Point Lesson:

Related Skills:

Lessons and Presentations, coming soon:

  • Dress for Success on PowerShow.com
  • Job & Career – Presenting Yourself (handout).
  • Job & Career – Presenting Yourself (with instructor notes).