Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had to choose from a 12-page menu with hundreds of choices? Unless you know the only thing you want is the Triple-Beast Burger with smothered fries and a double-chocolate shake, it can be a frustrating experience. Or, have you tried selecting a dishwasher from the hundreds of choices online? I recently had to replace my dishwasher, and spent hours on a number of websites, scrolling through hundreds of models and reading specification sheets until I couldn’t tell one from the other. A trip to a local electronics store that also sold appliances worked better for me. Why? Because they only had about five models to choose from, and one was on sale with free delivery and installation. Sold!
Everyone likes to have choices. But too many can be confusing and frustrating. More choices don’t necessarily mean making better choices. If you’re looking for a job, being one in a thousand of hiring choices for a company isn’t a good thing. How can you stand out and become one of the best choices for the job?
The trick to landing a sales job, or any job, is to show an employer that you’re the best choice. Something unique. You’re the person who is the best fit, has the most features, and is low maintenance with a great warranty. No, you’re not a refrigerator of a flat-screen TV. But by standing out, you’re giving the overwhelmed recruiter or hiring manager a clear choice. Making customers choose from many choices doesn’t result in more sales, said a study done by Columbia University using either six or 24 choices of jellies. While more customers sampled jellies when 24 choices were offered, more actual sales were made when there were only six choices. If you want to “sell” yourself as the best pick for a job, here are a few suggestions to be the best choice.
- Ditch the objective statement. Even with a few choices, you can still lose a sale if the choice is too narrow. If the choices don’t match an employer’s preference, he will move on. If your objective is to work in a commission/salary position offering high-tech cutting edge products with growth potential and a matching 401k plan, you’ve probably just cut yourself out of 90% of the available sales jobs. Your chance of getting in front of the perfect employer is limited. Instead of stating your preferences, consider #2 below.
- Match the employer’s preferences. So many job seekers fail to read a job posting carefully and don’t match their skills and experience to the employer’s preferences. A job posting gives you the chance to try on a job and see how it fits before you put invest time, money and emotions into an application. Employers screen candidates closely to match background to the job. If you’re not a fit for a job, move on.
- Choose categories. You can’t be everything to everyone. Determine the three main categories of skills or experience the employers are looking for. Are they looking for someone who is high-volume? A great closer? A self-starter who will have to develop her own leads and cold call? Are they looking for a niche sales person? Align your skills and experience with their top-three categories and customize your resume accordingly. Make it easy for the employer to see how well you match its needs. Include accomplishments in these categories as well.
Use your categories in your cover letter to spark interest and make an employer click on your resume. By using the three tips above, you’ll help an employer wade through the sea of resumes and realize you’re not the only choice, but the best one for the job.
Photo source: Freedigitalphotos.net
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