Building confidence in your skills is a really important part of promoting yourself at interviews for college, apprenticeships or a job

Building Confidence in Your Skills and ‘Selling’ Yourself for College, Apprenticeship or Job Interviews

Being asked to ‘sell yourself’ and demonstrate self-promotion is a daunting prospect for most students and young people. But Building confidence in your skills is important, not just for application forms and personal statements, but also when asked in-person to describe your skills during interviews for college, sixth form, apprenticeships or jobs. 

First you’ll need to be able to identify what you’re good at and feel confident about your strengths. Next you’ll need to be able to describe your skills in detail, giving examples of where and how you’ve used them and what the impact of that situation was.

Whilst it might seem a scary prospect at first, showcasing your skills is a valuable skill to learn that you’ll rely on throughout your career. Here we’ll take a look at some practical tips to boost your confidence and introduce you to the STAR Technique, a valuable tool for articulating your skills and experiences.

The Challenge: Recognising and ‘Selling’ Your Skills

It’s completely normal to struggle with recognizing what you excel at and how to “sell” yourself in interviews. Many students face self-doubt and underestimate their abilities. Overcoming this challenge begins with self-awareness and self-assurance. Here are some strategies to help you with building confidence in your skills:

1. Seek Feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask teachers, mentors, or peers for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. They can provide valuable insights you may not see in yourself

2. Reflect on Achievements

Take time to reflect on your achievements, whether they are academic, extracurricular, or personal. Recognize the skills and qualities that helped you succeed.

3. Self-Discovery

Engage in self-discovery activities, such as journaling, to understand your interests, passions, and areas where you feel most capable.

The STAR Technique: Your Key to Success

Now that you’ve started to recognize your strengths, it’s essential to convey them effectively during interviews. The STAR Technique is your secret weapon for responding to questions that require you to demonstrate your skills and experiences.

The STAR Technique is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It’s a structured approach to answering behavioral interview questions, which are designed to assess how you’ve handled specific situations in the past.

Situation: Begin by describing the context or situation you were in.

Task: Explain the task or challenge you faced.

Action: Detail the actions you took to address the situation.

Result: Conclude by discussing the positive outcome or what you learned from the experience.

Benefits of the STAR Technique

The STAR Technique offers several advantages:

  • Clarity: It helps you structure your response, ensuring you stay on track and provide a complete answer.
  • Specificity: You can provide concrete examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities.
  • Impact: Your responses are more memorable and convincing, leaving a strong impression on the interviewer.

Putting the STAR Technique into Action

Here are three common interview questions and sample answers using the STAR Technique:

1. Question: Give me an example of a time when you’ve worked in a team.

Answer (STAR Technique):

Situation: Last year, I was part of my school’s football team.
Task: Our team had to prepare for the county championships, where I played in mid-field.
Action: To make sure we all worked well together, I helped organised extra team practices and sent out key information on our message app, helped with fundraising activities for our kit and expenses, and supported new players joining the team.
Result: We came third in the district championship, which boosted our team’s morale and helped us recruit new players for next season. This experience taught me the value of teamwork and leadership.

2. Question: Describe a situation when you’ve had to show initiative.

Answer (STAR Technique):

Situation: At school, I was involved in a charity fundraising team to raise money for our leavers disco and hoodies.
Task: After the first term, I realised we were short on volunteers and needed to plan lots more fundraising activities to reach our target funds.
Action: I took the initiative to recruit additional volunteers from my friends and classmates. I made posters explaining the costs of all the different things we’d need for the hoodies and the leavers discos and suggesting ways people could raise money or upcoming fundraisers they could support or get involved in.
Result: Because of this, we enlisted another 8 volunteers onto the fundraising team and organising 3 new activities before the end of term to raise money. Within a few months, we had exceeded our fundraising goal and were able to buy the hoodies and lots of extra decorations, food and goody bags for the event.

3. Question: Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a challenge.

Answer (STAR Technique):

Situation: When I was leading a school project on renewable energy. We entered a competition to create a solar powered battery pack to power a mobile phone.
Task: We encountered a significant setback when our equipment malfunctioned on the way to the exhibition and our model was no longer working.
Action: I researched alternative solutions, collaborated with team members, and secured new equipment through a local partnership.
Result: We not only completed the project on time but also received praise from our teacher for our problem-solving skills.


Building confidence in your skills and effectively showcasing them during interviews is a skill in itself. By seeking feedback, reflecting on your achievements, and mastering the STAR Technique, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle interviews with confidence and conviction. Remember, your unique experiences and strengths are your assets—embrace them, and you’ll be on your way to a bright future!

Similar Posts