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Looking for a Job – You're in Sales!

I often ask groups, or clients, I'm speaking to: “Have you ever been in sales?”  
     In a group, a few hands generally go up.   
I then ask the group:  How many of you ARE in sales?  Again, a few hands go up.
I then ask:   How many of you are looking for a job?  

     As the light bulb goes on, all hands go up.
And I say, “Well, if you are looking for a job, you are in sales!”  And that’s the truth!

Looking for a job is all about sales
Looking for a job is all about sales  –  selling yourself.  If you are looking for a new job, new role, expansion of your current role, or venturing off into a new independent contracting, consulting, or business role, you are in sales!  And you are selling the most important product/service you will ever sell  –  YOU!

How do you sell yourself?
That’s the $64,000 or $45,000 or $150,000 . . . . .question  –  literally and figuratively.  How do you go about selling yourself in the employment marketplace?  What do you need to know and do?

One thing you need to know is that effective and successful sales people don’t sell themselves "helter-skelter;" they don't just start talking to people.  That approach would be akin to “shotgunning” in job search lingo – just phoning anyone or firing off resumes to anyone and everyone without a strategy or a plan.  Instead, good salespeople prepare thoroughly before they approach their customer in the marketplace.  Here is what they do.

Effective sales people sell themselves and their product or services by preparing themselves to approach their customers / their marketplace.  They:
    - Learn about and understand their product / service they are selling
    - Research and learn about their marketplace
    - Identify target customers / avenues into the marketplace
    - Develop their marketing tools to market and sell their product / service
    - Market their product /service
    - Negotiate the sale
    - Make the sale!

Selling your skills and competencies to a prospective employer is no different from the process I just outlined.  Effective job seekers today learn to strategically devise a plan to approach their target market, thoroughly prepare themselves and their materials, and only then venture out into their targeted portion of the employment marketplace. 

While “shotgunning” might SEEM to be the quickest route to finding a job, in fact, recent client experience over the last few years has shown it to yield the opposite result.  Employers today want to know, in short order, what you bring to the table in terms of experience, capabilities, and talent and how it can benefit them.  To do this requires thorough preparation and the ability to make a convincing argument as to why you are the best candidate for the job!  That takes time.

Take the time to prepare 
So, in the tough, tight employment market of today, and I would predict for the foreseeable future, don’t just fire off resumes to this one and that, hoping someone will read it and hire you.  Take the time to prepare yourself and your job search marketing approach to make the best impression of you as you enter and sell yourself in the employment market.  It is truly the shortest distance between looking for a job and finding it!
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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