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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Betts

Where did you learn to sell yourself?

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

"According to American recruitment firm THE LADDERS, ‘recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at each resume that crosses their desk and Kiwis are making silly errors, costing them their dream jobs."- APNZ, THE NZ HERALD, 18 Sept, 2014

‘It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in, my world and it’s not a place I want to hide in. Life’s not worth a damn ‘til you can say ‘Hey world, I am what I am’. –lyrics to GLORIA GAYNOR’s ‘I AM WHAT I AM’

Whenever we watch and listen to (predominantly) dragqueens sing that song, or if that song's dragged out at someone’s 50th or wedding, I know I'm not alone when I say I want to grab a mic and sing my heart out. Singing “I am what I am...” is so easy, even if you’re out of tune. Yet when reflecting back in the mirror from the night before, making a positive statement starting with, “I am....” can be challenging. Especially come interview time.

Repeat after me: I am fabulous. I am amazing. I am creative. I am wonderful. I am funny. I am beautiful. I am talented...How many of those made you kinda shudder?

So what happens when you have to sell you? Or harder, when your child has to sell themselves: “Tell us a bit about yourself....”And away you go (or not) usually using ‘I am...’ statements. No matter what we do in this world, where we live, our race, colour, religion, beliefs etc. there’s one thing we ALL need to do if we are to get by let alone succeed in this world: SELL OURSELVES.

I never learnt from someone how to sell myself, per say. Though I was fortunate to be forced to go on a DALE CARNEGIE course back in the 90’s. One of the best courses I’ve ever been on. I still use gems from it. Born in 1888, DALE’s a legend in writing a sleuth of books still used today. Like HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE.

My whole life has ended up centered around my ability to sell, myself included.

Where did you learn how to sell yourself? Why is it so challenging for our teens and young people? In my opinion, it's because THEY DON'T HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO CLOSE THE DEAL. And no one’s taught them how. Then they lose more confidence until it becomes ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff.

What's more there’s an OLD WORLD/NEW WORLD change going on:

Phew. We’re moving further away from the old world thinking. So now, more than ever, we need to encourage each other in using thoughts, language and actions that supports and grows NEW WORLD thinking. We absolutely must encourage each other to proudly make claims to our attributes, who we are, not who we wear.

And we need to do it particularly with teens, our future generation, the people we expect to lead the world in a few years...

So one of the things I focus on in my courses, training, workshops and everything I do, actually, is guiding people to a new, healthier language, and I mean beyond 'yo wot u up2, yolo'. I also teach life essentials for selling yourself, getting your CV together, using social media to work for you, branding yourself, how making one small change can make a big difference, style and putting/pulling outfits together, grooming, using audition techniques to help with interview techniques, video catwalking work, using paradigm shifts for attitude adjustments, how to get the best profile shot that will sell you...the list goes on.

Let me share one of the exercises with you that involves the power of words. It’s good practice for all of us. Try it at home, do it with your kids – even if they’re younger (never too soon to learn how to negotiate and sell because if we get taught/learn these two skills, THERE IS NO JOB THEY/WE CAN'T GO AFTER ).

I am...” statements go like this:

1. Write down 20 things you are – powerful, strong, independent, creative, kind, compassionate, loving, empathetic, generous, resourceful etc.

2. Narrow it down to your top five

3. Choose one. Pair up with a friend or family member.

4. DESCRIBE your word in three sentences without using the word.

5. After sentence three, see if your partner can guess what the word is.

6. Once your friend has guessed. Write down the word you chose on an A4 piece of paper.

7. Have your friend grab a camera phone and video you.

8. State your name, then say “...and I am (put your word in here).

9. Then do it in front of the mirror to get used to claiming who you are.

10. Watch the video (That’s what your interviewer, for example, is going to see).

11. Take turns with your friend.


THANKS TO A BUNCH OF OLD GUYS WHO SHARED WHAT THEY KNOW. There's some really intelligent men who arrived into the world in the 1800’s and left after the turn of the century who share so much relevant inspiration for this day and time!

Like this ditty about the origin of the saying THE AMBULANCE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CLIFF by JOSEPH MALINS

‘Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,

For the voice of true wisdom is calling:

To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best

To prevent other people from falling.'


Thanks for joining me! If you find stuff here that could be helpful to others, share it.

Until next time,

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