For the past 10 years I’ve been observing how women conduct a job search. And although my work has been focused on women, I’ve also seen how plenty of men search for a job. And the fact is that even in the most robust economy, I contend that a very high percentage of today’s job seekers would never find a job.
Very few people—even at the most senior levels—search for a job in the same comprehensive and professional manner that they would tackle a paid assignment.
And very few people realize that to find a job you have to be a great salesperson. Whether or not you feel comfortable in a sales role is of no consequence. Unless you are able to clearly, succinctly and persuasively sell your fit for a job, your status will remain “unemployed”.
Like many of you, I was never interested in a sales career. I don’t think that I have the “I can sell ice to Eskimos” persona. And if I don’t believe in what I’m trying to sell, I find it a difficult, uninspiring and totally not fun slog. When I really believe in something, though, I can start my sales engine.
Your job search sales job should be powered by your belief in yourself. You believe that you have strong skills and expertise. You believe that you have impressive experience. You believe that you have made valuable contributions. You believe that you are a strong fit for the job.
In a job search you are selling a service…your many talents.
Think of the best sales professionals you have ever known and incorporate their attributes into your job search. Great sales professionals are:
- Tenacious…they keep at it no matter what. If you’re a tenacious job seeker, you’re not working half a week, saying that there’s no sense looking for a job during the holidays/over the summer or losing steam after rejections.
- Resourceful…they always find new leads and “work arounds”. A resourceful job seeker knows that there are not enough days in the week for all the strategic networking anyone can cultivate.
- Persistent…they never think about “bothering” people: they persist to the close! A persistent job seeker finds ways to stay in front of hot prospects and keep a potential “sale” moving.
Ask yourself if you are approaching your job search like a low energy back office mail room clerk…or an energetic, tenacious, resourceful and persistent 10 times winner of the highest sales award. If you’re stuck in the back office, rev up your engines and start a job search in earnest.
- Approach your job search with the same professionalism as a paid work assignment.
- Be honest about whether your job search is suffering from a bad economy or your own job search approach.
- Recognize that if you believe in your skills and expertise, you can sell your skills and expertise.
- Adopt the attributes of the best sales professionals: tenacity, resourcefulness and persistence. —KAS