One of the biggest learning experiences I had in my sales job was the concept that my job was not to sell the service: it was to get potential clients to accept my call, then keep them on the phone for a minute, then five minutes, then set up a meeting, then gain their trust – and then make a sale.
We often look at “the sale” as an event, but really it’s a process – a process filled with a dozen little decision points.
The best salesman in the world couldn’t ring up an order with a stranger in less than 30 seconds.
So how does this translate to your job search?
Recognize that you’re not applying to a job.
You’re selling yourself – so use a real sales strategy.
First impressions matter
No, that’s not a sketchy idea. The truth is that if you send in a resume, or are trying to set up a meeting with a prospective boss, first impressions matter.
And that first impression may occur before they even see your face, hear your voice, or hear about all of your amazing ideas.
It will happen when they scan over a bunch of bullet points in-between meetings on a day when they barely have enough time to eat, let alone grant someone a better life.
They will either like your resume instantly – and decide to go to the next step – or they will end the process.
And if you think your credentials will get you any job, know that your experience will be seen only after your resume is seen.
What’s that? Your resume and your experience are the same thing?
Sorry, but they’re not even close.
You’re as good as you look
Your first step is to convince the reader that your resume is even worth reading – remember that series of “sales steps?”
They’re not even going to read your job history if the resume looks sloppy and unprofessional.
Once they agree that it’s worth reading, only then will they take the content seriously.
It may not be fair, and it may not be logical. But it’s human nature, and it’s going to happen whether we like it or not.
So think from the hiring manager’s perspective, not yours.
Pick a good format for your resume. Use clean, tight language with no rambling sentences.
And above all…
When politicians are pushed to release to sensitive information and they finally relent, they don’t just give a few snapshots: they give everything.
They dump so much information that the juicy bits are either lost in the noise, or the journalists get too tired to find it. Even the darkest treasures might not be found for months or years.
Too much information is exhausting and counter-productive.
Yet that’s what we can easily do when writing our resumes and cover letters. We cram in so many details about ourselves that our value gets lost in the noise.
Run-on sentences that span paragraphs. 20 bullets for each job. A personal history that starts with your birth.
The reader will get a feel for your viability in the first 10 seconds – if they can’t see your value that quickly, they likely won’t see it at all.
Objectivity in your approach
The toughest thing to do is to disassociate ourselves from the process. To think of our experience as only a collection of duties and results, and not a representation of our inner worth.
To be objective.
But that’s just what we have to do. Because the moment we start bringing ourselves into the picture, we begin to highlight useless details that don’t sway the new boss a bit.
We also overlook clear shortcomings in the presentation that will be picked up on by others in an instant.
Future employers might be interested in hearing your personal experiences – but not before they meet you.
Before they meet you, they’re dedicating mere seconds of their time to reading your specs, and you just don’t have the time to cloud the picture.
You’re an amazing “product” that has all the experience needed to own that new job.
Just make sure that’s everyone else sees.
Have your job efforts ever been thwarted by poor “salesmanship?” What did you do? Tell us in the comments!