Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Selling Yourself

Searching and applying for jobs is all about selling yourself. Sure, people have probably told you this many, many times. But, let's think about this in a simple way that most people (consumers) can find understandable using a few retail examples.

Example 1
Candy bars are on sale at the grocery store. You can get 2 for $3. OR, you can buy 1 for $1.75. Which one is the better deal? Answer: 2 for $3. You'll be saving 50 cents and you get TWO candy bars, not just one. This makes sense, right?

When you talk or write about your work experience and skills think about bundling. For example: Let's say the employer wants to hire someone who has social networking skills. Candidate A only knows how to use Facebook. Candidate B not only knows how to use Facebook but has experience with twitter, blogspot and wordpress blogging, digg, delicious, myspace and AIM. You'd hire Candidate B right? Bigger bang for your buck.

Example 2
You're searching for a Christmas gift for your aunt. She likes soaps, perfumes, lotions, and things of that nature. You stop into your local fragrance store in search of the perfect gift. It turns out that the store has a gift set with just the right items that your aunt will love. The items are in a beautiful gift box complete with Christmas ribbons and a gift tag. The gift set is $40. The only other alternative is for you to buy the items separately for $50 and wrap them at home. Which one are you going to buy? Answer: The gift set for $40. No brainer, right? It is nicely put together and cost less. Why would you spend more for the same items which you will have to wrap later?

Think about what experiences and skills you have (what you're trying to sell) and step into the employers shoes. Do your skills fit the job annoucement? Are your skills "the perfectly packaged gift set" that the employer is looking for? In addition, your cover letters and resumes should be "put together" just like that gift set. No typos or rambling in your cover letters. Be specific and succinct.

Example 3
You need a new coffee maker. Your friend tells you that he just got one at the local department store for a good price. He says his new coffee maker makes the best cup of coffee and he'd rather have that over a Starbucks. You decide to buy that coffee maker because your friend recommended it and you trust his taste.

Same thing goes for jobs. If you were the employer wouldn't you rather hire someone who came with a recommendation (or a referal) from a co-worker? This is why networking is so important! You may be one of the better candidates for the job. But, if you come with a referral then you may become the best (and only) candidate.

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