When you are searching for a job and interviewing make no mistake about it, you are selling a product and that product is you; your resume is your product literature and brochure. When you get your head around this concept you’ll see the hiring and interview process differently. What is a brochure supposed to do? It lists product features, what the product can do and the benefits that can result from obtaining and utilizing the product. But that is all a good resume is meant to do, to draw attention to the product for further consideration. A brochure by itself is rarely reason enough to attract a buyer and that’s where you come in.
How you present yourself is about much more than what you wear to the interview. Too many people think a good resume and some luck is what it takes to find a job and too many people rely on luck more than anything else. It’s easy to blame bad luck when you should be brave enough to look in the mirror for how to improve your chances. Sometimes timing, good or bad is a factor but if there is luck it is because you create your own. Don’t fool yourself and don’t pin your hopes on a lifeless piece of paper, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. In the best case your resume can open doors and help you gain access but once there is curiosity, when you enter the interview process and it’s your turn, you’re up, what are you going to do with the opportunity? How can you know if you are relying too much on your resume? Ask yourself what happens when at the beginning of an interview when you're asked, “Tell me about yourself”. If all you do is recite what’s already on your resume, then you are relying on it too much. And if all you are doing is reciting back what they already have, there isn’t much of a reason for you to be there, is there? It might be good enough and work occasionally but in a very competitive job market, relying on that strategy isn’t enough. Is this the best you can do? No, you can do much better if you choose to. As any accomplished salesperson can tell you selling is a process, there is a plan, you'll present your experience and abilities in the best possible manner while also watching and listening for buying signs to react to, so that by the end of the process they recognize you are the best solution.
Some people think applying sales and selling logic is tawdry or cheap as they might have negative perceptions about the concept of selling or sales people but I suggest that is a perception based more on a bad past experience and a lack of developed negotiating skills especially as it relates to closing the deal. Another attribute of a good salesperson is resilience in the face of rejection. If you are interviewing it is likely you will be told “no” more often than you will hear “yes”.
Provided that you are qualified for any job you are applying for, there are valid reasons why someone else might get a job offer instead of you. They might have more experience than you, they might have more accomplishments than you or a better education and experience combined, but losing in a close contest because they had better presentation and negotiating skills shouldn’t be one of them. This is one area you can absolutely influence and if you don’t invest a little time or are too lazy to better develop your abilities, then you don’t want it bad enough.
There are formulas for how to capitalize on a buying sign and other formulas for bringing a negotiation to an effective closure and they are known as “closes”. Are you familiar with using an Assumptive Close as a tool to help gain the next interview? Do you know how to use an Alternate Close to get a commitment? When is it the right time to go for a Direct Close? You might already be doing it without realizing it. In the next series of blog entries well talk about some of these, just some of the basics, how and when to use them.
Another good trait of an accomplished salesperson; they believe in the product they are selling and have confidence in what they claiming it can do. Do you have confidence and think you are the best solution for the companies you want to work for? Prove it.
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