Are you selling yourself to employers?


by Jesse Plunkett Posted on 2 years ago


An unfortunate reality about the hiring process: Selling is non-optional. Wouldn’t it be better if only merit mattered? Sure, but hiring managers are only human. They can’t help but respond to good marketing and powerful anecdotes (just like you and me).

Establishing your competence is necessary, but entirely insufficient. Your dream job requires out-competing other candidates to win over the hiring manager. If equipped with nothing but self-assurance in your own competence, you’ll find yourself outmaneuvered by competitors who tell beautifully rehearsed stories of accomplishment and service. Hiring managers must buy what you’re selling.

Fortunately, landing the job isn’t “cold” sales. Access to the job description is your opportunity to understand the employer’s needs and present yourself as the perfect solution. This is where many applicants will get it wrong. Selling yourself is about understanding the needs and wants of the buyer (the hiring manager). Buyer-focused selling will give you an edge over candidates who prefer self-focused telling.

To add credibility to your claims, consider using testimonies from compelling sources, such as past supervisors and educators. Buyers prefer customer reviews over a salesperson’s claims. Hiring managers are the same way, but they don’t have the time to call and verify all (or any) applicants’ past employers. Providing letters of recommendation upfront can help you stand out as the most credible candidate.

As buyers, we expect credible sellers to provide evidence, not just claims. With resumes as likely to contain embellishments as dating profiles, hiring managers crave evidence. You can stand out and problem-solve by sharing evidence of your achievements, such as strong performance reviews, awards, and credentials.

Selling yourself begins and ends with empathy. Match yourself to the employer’s needs, as expressed in the job description. Then, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager by considering how you can add certainty to and reduce hassle from their life.

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