NEWS + ADVICE
Looking for a Job? You’re in Sales
I often ask job search workshop groups “Have you ever been in sales?” A few hands will go up. “How many of you ARE in sales?” Again, a few hands go up. “How many of you are looking for a job?” As the light bulb goes on, all hands go up.
Looking for a job is all about sales. Selling the most important product or service you will ever sell…YOU. If you are looking for a new job, new role, expanded role, interim contract or consulting gig, you are in sales.
What do you need to know and do?
How do you sell yourself? That’s the $64,000 question, literally and figuratively. How do you go about selling yourself in the employment marketplace? What do you need to know and do?
Effective and successful sales people don’t sell themselves “helter‑skelter”. They don’t just start talking to people, phoning anyone, firing off resumes without a strategy. Successful salespeople have a plan.
It’s all about them, them being the customer. Good salespeople understand that customers want to know “What’s in it for me?” or in sales lingo, WIIFM. They want to know how what you are selling will help their company grow and prosper. Know as job seekers that hiring firms are looking inward ‑ at their own needs and selecting candidates who will best fill them.
Customers buy benefits. Astute salespeople don’t approach customers with laundry lists of their product’s features. Instead, they show how the product’s features will help the customer solve problems, reduce losses, and facilitate growth. Astute job seekers know that resumes with “laundry lists” of duties tell little about how they can contribute to a prospective employer’s success. These job seekers list duties they have performed and responsibilities they have shouldered, and focus on how their performance of these duties helped previous employers solve problems and achieve growth and success.
Good salespeople understand how and why customers buy and thoroughly prepare before they ever approach their first customer in the marketplace. Let’s take a look at what they do.
The Sales Process
Effective sales people sell themselves and their products or services by preparing themselves to approach their customers and their marketplace. They:
(1) Learn about and understand their product / service they are selling
(2) Research and learn about their marketplace
(3) Identify target customers / avenues into the marketplace to make a sale
(4) Develop their marketing tools to market and sell their product / service
(5) Market their product /service
(6) Negotiate the sale
(7) Make the sale!
As a job seeker, selling your product or service is no different. You are offering, or selling your skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities to prospective employers. Effective job seekers learn to sell themselves.
They devise a plan to approach their target market, prepare their marketing materials, and then venture out into their targeted portion of the employment marketplace. They follow a process ‑ a sales process – and do not conduct their search in inconsistent bursts of activity. When the process is followed consistently, job seekers get jobs!
Nancy Gober is a career strategist who has helped thousands of job seekers find employment. She’s also been a popular resume reviewer at our Cleared Job Fairs. You may reach Nancy via email at [email protected].