Whether you call it networking, schmoozing or just being personable, it all boils down to one thing when you’re applying for job: You have to sell yourself. And surprisingly, it’s not that different than selling any other product of service. You have to know what you’re selling, be confident that it can help the person, and know how to talk about it without coming across as bragging.
In fact, applying for a job is one of the first opportunities that you’ll have to brush up on your selling skills because more likely than not, when you have that job, you’re going to have to sell something at one point or another. Now is the perfect time to hone your selling skills, and here are five steps you can use to land your dream job and get practice for your future career.
This can’t be stressed enough. Looking good on paper is only going to get you so far. You have to know people. Use any contacts that you’ve made throughout school or previous jobs to be your extra eyes and ears in the industry, but remember: They can’t help you unless they know what you’re looking for so get yourself out there.
Set up one-on-one meetings
Coffee houses have become a traveling office for just about anyone. Once you know the people who want to contact to help you job hunt, take them out for coffee. People are much more inclined to allow you to pick their brain if there’s a free latte or lunch involved. On these meetings, be specific about what type of job you’re looking for, the type of company you want to work out, and how they may be able to help you. In short, make it easy for them.
Do something unique
We’ve all heard the unemployment numbers: There are so many people in your position looking for work that if you have any hope, you have to make yourself stand out and for most people, that falls on their resume. Do you know how many emails recruiters or hiring managers get? A lot, so I wouldn’t even bother emailing it. For example, when I was applying for a job at Procter & Gamble, instead of sending them a paper version of my resume, I silk-screened it on a T-shirt, slid it into a toothpaste box and mailed it to the sales director, and — here’s the important part — required a signature for delivery. I got the interview.
Do your research in advance
You would never go into a test unprepared (well, let’s hope not), and you should never go into an interview without knowing the basics. Research the company you’re applying with and the interviewer you’ll be talking to. Ask the interviewer about their experience and background. Let them know that you know about the company without just running off a list of facts that you memorized. For instance, if they ask you why you want to work for them — and they will — give something specific that you liked they did.
The after-interview is the make or break time, so it’s where so many people fall short. Face it: 99% of people will email the interviewer afterward, so that doesn’t set you apart. It’s also short, quick, and contributing even more to the inbox overload they probably have. Never underestimate the power of a hand-written letter because so few people actually get mail anymore.
What are some other ways that you can refine your selling skills to land a dream job?