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Overselling Yourself

By Steve Jones,

I have read and written a lot about careers in the last 7 years that I've been editing this site. I've tried to give my perspective and good advice to help people do well in their career. There really is so little information out there on this topic that each person often ends up re-learning the same information themselves as they go through their career. Lately I've seen quite a few other people writing about interviews, learning, and more, and I think it's great. It's great to see other people giving advice and helping others become more successful in their careers.

I ran across a blog post overselling yourself that had some interesting points. Points that I think more people should pay attention to as we become more connected, more "social", with a larger presence online. With all the posts online we are more likely to be asked about something we've done in an interview. These days if you have written a blog, posted in a forum, or made a note on a social network it is likely that the next person you interview will read it. If you post a lot of information they won't read everything, but I would assume they'll read something you've written.

If that's the case, there are two critical points to understand about your presence online. The first is that what is posted out there under your name should be true. Many things can be checked, but if you copy other people's work you're likely to not get many interviews. And as a publisher, let me tell you that I catch stuff all the time.

The second thing is you could be asked about anything you post in an interview. It's all fair game, so you should understand what you are writing about, or at least, be able to explain what you think about it. You might be wrong, but if you have solid reasoning for writing it you can only be called ignorant. There's nothing wrong with ignorance; we all are ignorant about different things. A professional, and a good employee, strives to reduce the level of ignorance all the time.

However not having any idea about what you've posted means something else. At the very least you've oversold yourself, but likely, you have very well damaged your reputation.

Steve Jones


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