Can you sell yourself?

 
WIP Coaching Update: I don’t have much to say about WIP Coaching because now I’m putting Gabi to work. We spoke this week about my ‘homework’ and went over some questions I had. Now she is going to critique my first fifty and let me know what some of my big problems are. I look forward to hearing what she has to say.
 
So onto selling yourself.

Last week I attended the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers annual engineering conference. I rode up early with my dad, who had a meeting to attend. I had one full day to myself with nothing to do and no kids around. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon doing writing stuff. (Stuff being writing, editing, blogging…) Then I met with a college friend and her kids and had a great afternoon. I wish I had more days like that.
 
The annual conference was a day and a half and consists of a business meeting, a banquet and lots of seminars. Licensed professional engineers renew their license every two years (at least where I live) and one of the requirements is 30 hours of continuing ed.
 
At one of the seminars, I had to write a pitch… for myself. Or a personal branding statement as the speaker from Dale Carnegie Business group called it.
 
And she only gave us five minutes.
 
That’s not long enough and I struggled. I don’t do much engineering work so how could I put into words a way to sell myself? There were some questions to help you develop your statement.
 
*What qualities or characteristics do you have that cause you to stand out from others in your field? Umm, I’m a woman. That’s all I came up with. And by the way, there were only three women attending this conference out of fifty people, so I think that qualifies. But since I haven’t worked full time since my son was born 7 years ago, I don’t have a specialty I’ve developed.
 
*What would your colleagues or clients say if your greatest strength? You mean my kids; I suppose they’re my only colleagues. I make a good mac and cheese, maybe.
 
*What do you do that adds or brings remarkable, measurable, distinctive value to other people and organizations? I’m a good listener. (But how does that relate to engineering?) Most of my projects have been fairly standard and unremarkable, so once again, I had nothing.
 
What I came up with was pathetic. And luckily, I got to read it to a total stranger because the DC session was very interactive. I’m not a fan of interactive sessions, especially when the speaker can call on you. The other guy’s was very good and he admitted he’d done this all before, but it made mine look all the more sad.
 

So what I already knew was that I’m no good at selling myself. This will have to change when I become published because writers need to promote themselves and their books. But for some reason, selling my book doesn’t seem as hard as selling my engineering skills. Maybe it is, I guess I’ll find out when I get there.
 
Are you good at selling yourself or your writing?

9 Responses to “Can you sell yourself?”

  1. Kelley Lynn says:

    I bet you’d be perfect at selling yourself if it was a conference for mommies! :)

    I’m okay at this. I had to do it two years ago when I graduated from college and needed a job. But it always feels awkward.

  2. Avatar of Suzi
    Suzi says:

    Oh definitely. But if I were applying for a mommy job somewhere, I’d probably have to bribe my kids for a recommendation. I’ll give you chocolate if you say I’m a good mom. :)

  3. Jolene says:

    I can’t ever imagine being good at selling myself. It feels like applying for a job over and over and over and over… lol.

  4. Cassie Mae says:

    Oh no way would I be good with this! My mouth would start spouting off stuff that would make people a little scared.

  5. David P. King says:

    This post is timely. I just recently blogged about this very topic. I think being yourself is the ticket to selling yourself. Be awesome and don’t think about selling.

    I gave you a Shout-Out on my blog today! :)

  6. Selling myself is a HUGE weakness of mine. I hope when the time comes I can suck it up, and do it. ;0)

  7. Morgan Shamy says:

    Oh man… I have no idea how I’ll do with trying to sell myself… I just know I’ll always be myself and hopefully that will be enough… it’s scary though… having to put yourself out there like that… but I guess we’ve all taken that first step, right? Blogging and writing and daring to put ourselves out there right now… ;)

  8. Avatar of Suzi
    Suzi says:

    Good advice. Thanks.

  9. E.Arroyo says:

    I love this. I’ve pitched my ms and the organization I work for but not me. =) Now…I gotta go work on it. Thanks for sharing.

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