Are you getting in your own way of your success? Learning how to sell yourself is a key aspect of getting forward in your career – whether it is landing that new dream job or getting that coveted promotion.
For most of us selling ourselves doesn’t come naturally. I know I always feel really awkward and weird. It is really hard. It doesn’t help that I’m a female Canadian – two identifying factors that encourage, actually DEMAND humility. But a long time ago I learned that I can be proud of what I have to offer and still be humble. Okay, who is kidding who here, this is something I continue to work on. Though, I did learn how vital it is to my success to use the following four reminders to help me sell myself effectively.
These four reminders work, they get me in the right mindset and act as prompts to encourage me to focus on what I bring to the table and how to get my message across without sounding like a used car salesman or getting all socially awkward!
1. You are the product.
When I’m interviewing new coaching clients and candidates I hear a lot of “buts”, I noticed a problem and I came up with a solution BUT I was really lucky to have noticed it.
I also hear a lot of “we”. We managed or we implemented or we were involved.
When you are dealing with ANYONE that has the future of your career in your hands forget about the normal you – the person who maybe was really lucky to have stumbled across the perfect solution – and focus on the SUPERYOU, the incredibly observant, innovative and intelligent person who came across the perfect solution.
Think about advertisers. Do they tell us how delicious that Big Mac is BUT that it can cause weight gain? Nope! Or those battery commercials, do they say all batteries are the best? No way, they say THEY are the best.
So what are the best things about you? Get any objections out of your head. And own those things, don’t share them with anyone else!
2. You are different.
If you are looking for a job you have a lot of competition since each job posting sees about 250 resumes. If you are hoping for a promotion, look around you – there is your competition.
Chances are most of that competition are qualified to do the job, they have nice and friendly personalities and have a good work ethic. And most of those people probably try to sell themselves by focusing on 1 of those 3 things. That gets pretty boring, pretty quick!
You need to stand out. How are you the unicorn, what is your superpower that differentiates you from the masses? Figure that out and lead with that. Make sure it is highlighted in your LinkedIn, your cover letter, your resume and elevator speech. At work, showcase that power every chance you get (where it makes sense) and smoothly make sure the decision makers know about it.
3. You have potential.
Studies show that you are more likely to get hired or get the promotion/raise if you have the potential for greatness. The crazy thing is if you take a candidate who has potential versus someone with actual experience, it is the former one that stands a better chance of getting hired!
The thinking is that those who have potential makes the decision maker spend more time thinking about them which leads to an unconscious favourable view as long as there is evidence backing up the potential.
How do you make this work for you? Especially if you do offer a ton of great experience. It is all in the spin. Tell the decision makers about your future and how what you have accomplished in the past will benefit and translate to a great things to come for you and therefore them.
4. You are persistent.
I don’t think it comes as a surprise but I love all forms of networking (events, informational interviews) and to me networking is key to a successful career.
As a recruiter, I get asked a lot – “do you know anyone who could be a fit for…”? Well let me tell you something – recency bias is for real. It is usually the people I’ve spoken with in the past month or so that I recommend. That is not to say you need to send weekly update emails to people in your network, you want to be persistent not annoying.
If you want to be considered for new opportunities than I would recommend connecting with the key people in your network about once every 3-6 months – just a quick email is good and don’t worry if they don’t email back! Also be active where they are active. If they tend to be on LinkedIn or Twitter, engage them by liking and commenting on their posts. If they attend regular association events, show up too – an in person meeting is more memorable anyway. On Social Media, I recommend sharing relevant articles, updating your status or writing new articles. Keeping your name on their radar will go a long way.
If you want to be considered for any upcoming promotions, make sure management and HR are aware and remind them during any performance reviews or conversations. Ask about job shadowing and training opportunities and ensure they know once you have completed those activities. When you have had a win find a natural way to bring it up to them.
I don’t know about you but a lot of the above can seem at first to be very icky. I certainly don’t want to have to schmooze my way into a new job or promotion, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, I hate those people who seem to spend more time schmoozing and scheming than working. But you know what is worse than not getting the job or promotion? Is when THOSE people do! And they do, all the time, I’ve seen it happen time and time again. And trust me the goal of this article is not for you to become one of those people.
I want you to be AMAZING at what you do but also learn to be AMAZING at selling yourself so that it is YOU, someone who so deserves it who gets the job or promotion!
And obviously if this whole marketing yourself seems too much, that is what I’m here for! Reach out and let me know how I can help.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.