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Guess What? You’re a sales person

Job Seeking is a sales process. Anticipation and preparation for a certain amount of rejection is important if you are to function well, especially when you finally get to interview stage (which you most definitely will.)

We have noticed many job seekers over the years underestimate just how much they were being impacted by the seemingly relentless experience of being rejected for jobs. This experience was impacting their energy levels, their efficiency in the job seeking process, and of course their lack of results.

Many of our clients started applying for hundreds of different roles before they had done some important work on themselves – and before they had made some agreements with themselves about what they would and would not do when job seeking.

The results were terrible – hundreds of rejection letters, low self esteem, pessimism and a much longer period between roles than they necessarily needed to experience. Once they started to conduct the job seeking process more strategically, they found themselves being invited to more interviews, receiving less rejection notices, and feeling better about discussing their career achievements at interview. For most people they found the next position within 6-12 weeks once they started planning their approach more effectively.

So how then, do we overcome the tendency to panic and react, and start to plan things properly?

The first and most important adjustment that you need to make before the job seeking process begins is to understand your role in the process.

  • You are now the salesperson, AND the product.
  •  Employers considering your application are potential buyers.
  •  Recruitment consultants provide screening services on behalf of the employer, who has paid them to carry out these services. They are of course interested in you and concerned for you, but they do not work for you. Recruitment consultants do however have other opportunities that come up in addition to the ones you are applying for so it pays to treat them as a kind of customer as well.
  •  Your CV is your marketing document or brochure. It is the most important marketing document you will ever produce as it is designed to make the biggest sale of your life. It needs to be prepared very carefully.

Good sales people know the benefits of measuring their activity to results. They set targets not only for their sales figures, but also for their activity – for example, the number of qualified sales opportunities in their pipelines, the number of prospecting calls made, client visits per week, number of proposals out to customers, and the probability of the sales being made.

Think about your job seeking activity as a sales process. How’s your pipeline looking? What success ratios are you measuring?

(From “New Beginnings”, CareerBuilders Guide to Job Seeking, 2009)

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