Selling Yourself Is Among The Most
Important Aspects Of Finding Employment
By Virginia Hall and Joyce Wessel
(Excerpt from the February 18,
1990 edition of The Atlantic Journal/ Constitution)
As a job seeker, you are an entrepreneur, you
are business yourself. Your business is getting a job. You sell only one
product: you. The two major success factors in your business, as in any
other, are the product’s quality and the marketing’s ingenuity. You,
like other entrepreneurs, have absolute control over both.
There is no substitute for quality. Before you
launch your job search, conduct a quality control inspection of your
product. Honestly examine your work background, your skills, interests,
values, reward needs, attitudes, energy, integrity, and focus.
If any facet of your product
fails to measure up to market standards of excellence, fix it. If you
need computer skills, learn them. If you need to exorcise some lingering
bitterness form your last job experience, talk it out, work it out or
think it out, but don’t let it tarnish your products luster.
Quality is necessary but not
sufficient in the job search. You have to ignite a “need to buy” impulse
in your customers. The success or failure of your job search hinges on
your marketing’s effectiveness.
Marketing for the job seeker includes everything
you do, say and think to promote your product. It begins with an
intelligent, well-thought-out plan.
A good marketing plan implies
market research. Before you write your action plan, ask yourself the
What business am I
really in? Describe in seven to ten words the function of your job
focus. For instance, you may be in the business of teaching and coaching
employees to work in teams. If you can state your purpose this
succinctly, you can sell it.
What are the most
important features of my product?
Who is the
customer most likely to need my product?
What sets me apart
from my competition in my ability to serve these customers?
How can I make my
product most visible to the largest number of potential customers?
How can I best
communicate my product features as benefits to employers?
Once you understand the features, quality and
purpose of your product, you can move to perfecting the packaging.
People seldom trust the quality of diamonds wrapped in paper bags.
Employers seldom trust the quality of candidates cloaked in unshined
shoes, unkempt hair and disheveled suits.
Your image is your marketing
package. Scrutinize its appeal as mercilessly as you examine your
product. Begin with posture, voice quality and meticulous grooming.
Watch yourself on videotape. Pay special attention to your body
language, gestures and mannerisms. Resolve mixed messages between your
words and your body movements. Note your eye movements, facial
expressions and hand gestures.
Your personal image is part of
your packaging. The other is external to you: business cards,
stationery, applications, resumes, correspondences and any other
material that represents you when you are not present. Be sure the image
you send is the one your want your customers to see. Misspelled words,
poor grammar, cheap paper and lifeless writing portray you as careless,
disinterested and/or incompetent. If English is not your bailiwick,
enlist support from your network.
You must bring enthusiasm and
verve to the project or no one will believe in either your or your
product. Find some way to energize your search: see it as an
opportunity, and adventure or a competition.
As a job search entrepreneur,
you are responsible for your attitudes as you are for your image. If you
need help to work through your emotions before and during your job
campaign, seek it. It is an investment that pays off.
Marketing step number 5 is executing specific
strategies. Some people actually advertise as part of their marketing
plan. Resourceful job seekers have landed jobs from placing ads in the
“job wanted” section of a newspaper or trade journal. If this seems a
professional approach for you, try it. If it is neither comfortable nor
appropriate, forget it.
“Word of mouth” campaigning is,
however, a marketing strategy you cannot ignore. It must come from two
sources – you and your network. You are responsible for developing
telephone and cold call techniques that make your potential customers
want to listen to the benefits of your products.
Unfortunately, these two
strategies strike terror in the hearts of the fearless. There is only
one logical answer – do it despite fear. Plan your attack by striping
out exactly what you want to say. Practice by repeating your script into
a telephone, a tape recorder or by role playing with a friend. Persevere
by picking up the phone or by walking into a strange office as many
times as your plan demands. Twenty telephone calls a day is marketing.
Fewer equals a stab at marketing.
The other effective
word-of-mouth approach is the one your network does for you. In order to
help them help you, be sure to keep them informed of your progress.
Remember to let them know you appreciate their support.
Closing in on the sale
The interview, of course, is the ultimate test
of your combined marketing skills. It is your opportunity to close the
sale. Enough good material has been written about the interview to
provide any marketer who cares enough with all the information you need
In summary, good marketing job
search requires the intelligence to plan, the energy to execute, the
initiative to seize every opportunity, the courage to commit and the
wisdom to develop the patience and perseverance you need to reach your