Letter From A Real Job Seeker

Dear Janice:

I have read many articles telling me to “sell myself” but I am having a hard time figuring out what this really means. One of my concerns is that I may come across as egotistical and another stems from the fact that I really can’t identify what I have to sell! Help!

Ron in Detroit

Dear Ron:

In this case believe those articles! A candidate is much like a product for purchase that has the ability to talk about why the shopper (interviewer) should buy! Pity the loaves of bread and boxes of cereal that have to count on strictly visual appeal to end up in the buyer’s shopping cart. Your resume must merchandise you visually and informationally much like the inventory on the store shelves but then you actually a bigger and better opportunity…the interview!

To learn what you have to sell you must identify several things. First of all what are your skill sets, transferable skills and functional areas of expertise? In what are you experienced? And perhaps most important, where and on what occasions have you made the greatest contributions? So the first step is to take an inventory of what you have to offer. The second step is conduct a bit of research or intelligence regarding what the company needs. Where is a company’s area of need? Where are the problem areas? The way to best sell yourself is to connect what you’ve done with what a company needs done. You can’t be much more persuasive when giving an employer a reason to “buy” than by specific examples as to how you can assist in their areas of weakness.

Now on to the psychological roadblocks. We have all been taught that humility is a golden quality and pride is a mortal sin. We become very uncomfortable when it’s time to discuss our good points using our communication skills. In order to outcompete others when there is a glut of candidates it is critical that we put our best war stories and adventures on the table in the form of contributions and achievements.

I offer the following solution, which should be very encouraging. Try to think more in terms in how much good all your expertise could do and how many good people may very well need you. See yourself as a potential contributor, not a braggart. If your motives are sincere this should be the case anyway! If you have solutions that could help customers or workers in a struggling economic time, you owe it to that prospective employer to offer your gifts! Good luck!

Janice

Original post: CareerBoard.com