And even if you’re not applying for a sales position, you should learn the basics of sales so you can learn to sell yourself—for a new job, for a freelance gig or for whatever else you’re working toward.
So, how do you sell yourself to land a professional opportunity? Here are a few ways to do it:
Don’t sell features; sell benefits
This is the golden rule in sales, and it’s the same concept when it comes to interviewing. Yes, you can tell the employer about your impressive GPA, Ivy League education and vast experience in the field.
But expand on that. Expand on how your education and experience will benefit the employer if they hire you. What can you do that would make the company better? What can you do to make the company more money?
Be the solution
Companies have job openings because they have a hole in their business. Your job (if you are hired) is to fill that hole.
For example, if the job opening is for a network administrator, tell them why you are the perfect solution to their network woes. Or, if during the interview they tell you they’ve been experiencing DDOS attacks on their servers, you can cite past experience working with hacked servers or even tell them you’ve been on the other end of DDOS attacks. Remember, sell benefits. Use specific examples from your past to illustrate how you will solve inherent problems in their database infrastructure and network security.
A job listing will usually indicate what the job responsibilities are and what you will be tasked with. Use this as an opportunity to brainstorm solutions to some of the problems they list on the job announcement.
Nonverbal communication is extremely important during interviews. How you communicate via body language is just as important as what you say—at times even more so. You need to portray yourself as a competent and confident employee who knows what you’re doing. That means no profuse sweating, slurring of the words or looking away.
Instead, sit straight up, maintain eye contact and smile often. Don’t underestimate a smile. A sincere smile shows that you’re comfortable. But, more importantly, it shows that you’re friendly. Friendly people are typically easier to work with and have better people skills, which translates very well in the workplace.
Talk about specifics in your resume
Everything you put on your resume should be a talking point that enables you to extrapolate a story you can tell. The more interesting and specific the story, the more you will be able sell yourself.
Going back to the network administrator example, instead of putting something like “managed day-to-day network operations at X company” on your resume, you can spice it up a little bit by writing something along the lines of “averted numerous cyber-attacks by employing state-of-the-art cyber security at X company.” Your potential employer will be a lot more interested in how you prevented cyber-attacks than the fact that you managed day-to-day network operations.
Show some passion
You need to have passion in your work. After all, you spend approximately a quarter of your life working. If you show passion in what you do, it will give you a big advantage over others.
Employers like those with passion because they know you are working for more than just a paycheck and are willing to put in the time and effort to provide quality. If you do not have any passion in what you do, at least learn how to fake it.
It might be called an interview, but it’s really a sales presentation. You’re selling yourself and why you would be a good match for the company. So remember the above points next time you go into an interview. If you do these things well, there’s little reason why you won’t get the job. Good luck!