In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to sell yourself as a valuable employee. This goes beyond sending your resume to an organization. Your job search should consist of a plan that sets you apart by taking advantage of networking opportunities and finding what makes you unique. There are a few simple things you can do to ensure you will sell yourself as a cut above the rest.
Customize Your Message
Looking for a job is big task, and when you’re applying for dozens of jobs each week, it can be tempting to take the easy way out by sending the same version of resume and cover letter for each position you apply for. Jessica Spanswick, director of career services for Globe University, says it’s not a good idea to just send a general resume and cover letter but rather to take that extra hour to tailor your materials to the specific position. “Many employers get a couple hundred candidates for one position. Simply sending your resume is not enough to really catch their eye,” says Spanswick. “You need to go above and beyond by targeting your cover letter to a specific person in the company, tailoring your resume and using the hidden job market to network.” On average, your resume will be reviewed for a mere seven to 10 seconds, which means the top of your resume is your prime real estate. A good practice is to use the first third of your resume as a place to paint a clear picture of the qualifications and experience you hold that aligns to the positions you’re applying for. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to understand why you’re the best fit for the job.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
It might seem difficult to sell yourself as a qualified candidate for a specific position when you have little or no experience in the field. Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone looking to switch careers, Spanswick says there are still ways to make yourself stand out and market what you do have to offer. “Find transferrable skills from your past or current work experience, even if it’s not necessarily in the field you’re looking to get into,” she says. “Skills you’ve learned in the classroom or a similar position can set you apart.”
To better understand the transferable skills you possess and how they align to the positions you apply for, start by printing out two to three job descriptions that you would like to apply for. Use a highlighter to highlight every area in the description that you’ve had experience in – nothing is too small. Next, when you begin to write your resume, go back to the highlighted areas and craft your message around those qualifications, using the same language.
Connect With the Right People
Finding a job in today’s economy requires building relationships with professionals and decision makers in the industry or companies you hope to work for. It’s important to remember to broaden your networking horizons and to break away from networking with the same people and at the same places over and over. This is not to say to lose touch with past connections, but to focus your attention on the networking activities that will garner you the most results. Spanswick recommends finding connections through networking, job fairs and your career services department.
Although finding the right people to connect with can be difficult, now more than ever, job seekers have the ability to utilize online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to their advantage. Prior to the launch of LinkedIn, being able to co-mingle with the decision makers was unheard of.
Define Your Value
Selling yourself comes in three critical forms: on paper, online and in person. To land the job, you need to be able to define the value you offer an organization through all three channels.“You might look good on paper, but you still have to be able to sell yourself in the interview,” says Spanswick.
Above all, Spanswick recommends perfecting your personal brand and practicing presenting that in an effective way. “You’re the only one who can sell yourself. No one else is going to necessarily go to bat for you, so it’s really important to sharpen those interview skills and polish your marketing materials,” she says.
By going above and beyond all the other candidates, leveraging your experience to market yourself as a valuable employee and polishing your interview skills, you will successfully sell yourself and, in turn, get hired. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.