Education Career Services

July 17, 2009

I’m NO Elephant!

July 17No matter what your profession, at some point in time, everyone will function as a salesperson.  Many will sell products, but still more will sell ideas.  Most of all, you will sell yourself. 

As you progress on your career path, you will sell the value you bring to a company many times.  Though social networking is often the initial contact, for many the first sales vehicle employed is a resume and cover letter.  Make no mistake; these electronic bits of information act as sales documents or contract proposals if you will.  Because of this, your materials must offer your strongest selling points while conveying uniqueness to the buyer – your potential employer.

For many, this is an incredibly daunting task.  Perhaps it’s because the value of humility has been drilled into them when they were young or because of an underestimation of worth.  You are not alone; a great portion of the population finds it difficult to answer all-too-common questions like: “What distinguishes you from other applicants?” or “Why should I hire you?”  Unfortunately for the shy or recent career entrant, these are questions which must be addressed in your documents BEFORE an interview is scheduled.

Knowing these questions will be asked, your task is to answer them in a confident and value-based manner.  How do you do that?  As with any endeavor, start with researching the topic and expectation.  In other words, think in terms of what the reader may be seeking and NEVER be that proverbial elephant in the room.  There are two things you need to know when selling any product:

•   What does the buyer need?
•   What can my product do?

Investigate the company and position you are applying to and identify how your skills meet their requirements.  Matching your skills and what you can do to what is being sought determines the next step.  If you are unable to match the requirements (or even come close), be realistic.  For clarification as to what you are capable of doing, don’t be afraid to ask coworkers, peers, instructors, and even family members how they would describe your work.  Talk to the people on your reference list and ask what they feel are your key strengths.  Asking for a helping hand can prove beneficial on many fronts! 

When completing your materials, remember that building confidence may require you to look at yourself through other people’s eyes.  Show your resume and cover letter around.  Practice your interview skills with friends or associates and WOW your next potential employer!

Kimberly Sarmiento
Resume Writer – Career Services International


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