The 4-Step Job Seeker Sales Process

Posted by Nancy Gober

Effective job seekers sell themselves and their product or services using the same sales process. Here is how to apply the sales process to preparation of your job search:

Step 1, Learn about and understand the product / service you are selling

That’s you! It can be surprising what you don’t know about you. Or at least how to talk about you.

Akin to a salesperson learning about a product or service, job seekers need to devote time to learning about what they have to offer their customer, i.e., a new employer.

  1. Assessments are one way, but if you don’t have the resources to secure a formal assessment, a simple paper and pencil exercise can do the trick: Identify your skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes. This is what you have to sell.
  2. Ask your network (close colleagues and friends) what they see as your assets in terms of skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes.
  3. Ask about 10 people who know you well this question: If you had 3 words to describe me, what would they be?

What do I really want to do?

Visit and re‑visit this question as you go through the Job Seeker Sales Process and throughout your search. Your answer will change over time and become clearer and clearer.

Identify your objective for your job search. Ask yourself: What type of work do I really want to do?

Step 2 Research and learn about your marketplace

Just as professional salespeople learn about their sales territory, job seekers need to learn about their sales territory, the employment market. Ask and begin to answer these questions:

  1. What industries use and hire my type of skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes?
  2. What types of companies and organizations employ my skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes?
  3. Within the companies/organizations, what departments use my skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes?
  4. What areas of the country/globe are these companies and industries located in?

Step 3, Identify target customers / avenues into the marketplace

Hone your research by beginning to identify your target customers. Identify target companies and organizations that may employ your skills, knowledge, experience, strengths, attitudes, and aptitudes.

  1. Use web/online research to identify companies within your targeted industry. For instance, if you want to work as an electrical engineer in the defense industry, Google defense contracting companies to get a list of target organizations to begin to explore. Get that? Begin to explore and learn about, not send off unfocused and untargeted resumes and applications “helter‑skelter.”
  2. Use targeted job boards such as ClearedJobs.Net to learn more about what companies are hiring, the types of positions they are hiring for, where they are hiring, and the relevant keywords for your profession.
  3. Identify trade associations for your targeted industry(ies). Use their websites to identify their member companies/organizations that are target companies for you.
  4. Research target companies via publications/business directories that provide sales‑type information about companies. Professional salespeople use and rank Hoovers@ as one of the best. But there are others such as Manta, One Source, Yahoo, The Fortune 500, Fortune Global 500, etc. Some are free; others provide free introductory time periods. These resources can also be found, and used free of charge, in libraries.
  5. Speaking of libraries, visit one. Librarians are sources of information, and can direct you to useful research tools to identify target companies/organizations and to learn about your target market. They can save you time.

Step 4, Develop your marketing tools to market and sell your product / service

Here are the basic marketing tools you will need to venture into the job market:

  1. Resume in chronological format (at least to begin your search)
  2. Linked‑In Profile, job board profiles.
  3. Elevator speech. Goes everywhere you do. Learn it and work it in to conversations.
  4. Business Cards. Go everywhere you do.
  5. Annotated Reference List
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Portfolio of work, if appropriate.

Think of these as your Basic Tool Kit for a Job Search. You will develop others ‑ templates for cover letters, networking plan, follow‑up method, etc. as you get further into your search.

With these marketing tools developed, you are now able to enter the job market. To begin talking with your network and target companies in a way that contributes to your success, not deters it. You now have the information you need to identify real, potential job opportunities, and a way to communicate to those potential employers about what you have to offer in an impactful, attention‑getting way.

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].


  • Nancy Gober

    Nancy Gober is a career strategist who has helped thousands of job seekers find employment, and the author of “Jobs Are Not Found Sitting at the Computer.” You may reach Nancy via email at [email protected].

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 04, 2014 5:55 pm

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