So, you’re out of school, you’ve organized a few events for the local youth group/church, and you want to sell yourself as a leader. How do you do it?
Don’t sell yourself short. Organizing a group of peers over whom you have zero authority is about as tough as it gets!
Don’t be something you’re not. It’s OK to be “learning how to lead.”
Be forward looking. Even more OK than learning is believing that leadership is learned through first learning to do the job well and supporting others. (Be careful: if you say you want to work with people who inspire you, you are raising your expectations of your employer and putting your interviewer on the defensive.)
Use self-deprecating humor that highlights a strength. For example: “I organized a trip for our band to go to Spain for two weeks. And while that may seem like a short assignment, I don’t know too many people who would agree to take responsibility for shepherding 19 teenagers through a foreign country even for a day! I learned a lot on that trip about how to lead without formal authority. It was quite an experience.”
At this stage of the game, what people want to buy from you are your willingness to work hard and your future potential. Your ability to manage/lead is not a critical skill… so don’t sweat it.
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