How To Present Yourself To An Employer

Are you really presenting yourself in the best possible light? You may not be able to alter who you are or what you’ve done but you can do a lot to improve the way others see you. Not convinced? You should be.

No-one is duty-bound to give you a job. There is no obligation on any employer and you could (theoretically) go your whole life without being employed. Thus, landing a job is a success, and the act of getting it is a challenge. Thus, like any competition, you have to polish what you’ve got and put your best foot forward.

Let’s begin by seeing things from the employer’s point of view. After all, if you can get inside their heads, you’re more than halfway to winning the prize. Speaking from experience, an employer wants to see the following being demonstrated by a job candidate:

  • Knowledge of trade or willingness to learn
  • Reliability
  • Potential
  • Good character
  • Work ethic
  • Compatibility with other staff
  • Knowledge of trade or willingness to learn

Make sure your CV is sufficiently detailed regarding relevant things that you have done and that your covering letter contains one paragraph (the second, usually) summarising your experience or expressing how much working in the particular industry appeals to you (if you have no experience).


Show the employer that you have not had to leave a place of work for bad timekeeping or absenteeism (your CV may not be clear in this respect) and emphasise that, even in adversity, you have stuck with jobs or courses and seen them through to the end.


Employers understand that if you envisage yourself having a more responsible, better-paid job in the company, then that will entail you working hard in the interim. Working hard means that they get value for money with your wages and so your ambition gives you instant appeal. Be realistic in your aspirations, though, as no-one wants a dreamer!

Good character

These days, employers are very restricted as to what questions they are allowed to ask job applicants. If you can put that you have an unblemished criminal record and/or a clean driving license then say so (if not, see our blog about dealing with an adverse employment history). Also, sign up for some voluntary work so that you can put that on your CV. It will look good and be something interesting for an interviewer to ask about.

Work ethic

If you have been long-term unemployed, it will suggest to employers that you have lost the concept of what it is to work. If you can demonstrate that. despite being jobless, you have got up every morning and spent the day either trying (hard) to find work or helping out with something voluntary, then that should reassure them.

Compatibility with other staff

Obviously no-one can promise this with confidence until they actually start in a job but you can demonstrate your ‘social’ side to an employer by going into a small amount of detail about hobbies that you do alongside others – e.g. dancing, playing a team sport etc.

Before going to each interview (and you will start getting them if you follow the advice in this series of blogs), you should swot up on the employer’s ‘latest news’ (see their website) so that you can ask intelligent and relevant questions.

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