“Unique Selling Point” is a marketing idea developed to help people in business improve their sales. As a job seeker, you also have something to sell: YOURSELF! Mind you, for years we have heard “You have to sell yourself to employers if you want a job.” We’ve heard that phrase over and over-but what does it mean? How do you sell yourself to employers? You might think you have to throw yourself at the employer or get out of your chair and do a tap dance routine, if that’s what you think, you’re getting it wrong. The fact still remains the same in these difficult economic times, prudence prevails. Companies still want to hire and people still want to buy things but everyone wants to make sure they are getting value for money. In such circumstances the ability to sell yourself effectively has become more important than ever. Now it’s important for you to discover these tips for selling yourself when applying for jobs.
1. KNOW YOUR WORTH
When applying for a job or trying to win a new client, the key is to know your worth before you do any talking. For example, imagine you are in a shop trying to buy a new television and the sales person is unable to explain any of the features, why you should choose that particular brand over all the others and just seems to just be hoping you buy the item in order to earn him his commission. You probably wouldn’t buy from him would you? Likewise if you are selling yourself, a product or a service the same principal applies. You need to be able to clearly explain to the potential employer why you should be hired over all the other candidates or why your company will do a better job than all the others. If you cannot do that then it is very likely that you will fail.
2. DON’T SELL FEATURES; SELL BENEFITS
This is the golden rule in sales, and it’s the same concept when it comes to job application. 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?
3. BE THE SOLUTION
Companies have job openings because they have a hole in their business. Your job (if you’re hired) is to fill that hole. For example, if the job opening is for a network administrator, tell 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 insecurity. 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.
4. SAY YOU’RE GOOD WITHOUT ACTUALLY SAYING YOU’RE GOOD
If you really aren’t comfortable saying you’re good at managing your time, you could talk about times when you managed your time well, using the CAR technique (describe the circumstances, your action and the results). For example; there have been times when I have had to manage my time carefully to get things done. In my second year, I volunteered two mornings a week at a primary school through Community Action, but I also had to hand in two essays a week and I worked at a supermarket for eight hours a week. I handled in all of my work on time, met all my volunteering obligations and still worked my eight hours, although I did swap shifts with colleagues on a couple of occasions. In this example, the candidate isn’t explicitly saying he’s good at time management, but it’s clear from the explanation that he is really good.
5. ENSURE CORRECT SPELLING AND GRAMMAR
Lastly, trying to fit as much information about who you’re into a punchy sentence or two can mean a lot of word juggling which may lead to grammatical errors. Make sure that your 25-word summary reads well and is easy to comprehend. Consider your tenses and make sure they’re consistent. Once you have done your own spelling and grammar check, you may even want to run some options by a few friends to find out which one reads more clearly.