3/25/12 - Stand Out in Your Job Search by Giving Clues
By Judi Perkins
You’re selling a product and the product is you. So much of what I teach involves advanced sales techniques as they apply to job hunting. That’s because job seekers are too “me” focused when the buyer, which is the hiring company, wants to know what’s in it for them. When the buyer is about “me” and the job seeker is about “me,” the interview won’t be very successful because both parties are thinking “what’s in it for me?” They’re neglecting to take into consideration the other side of the equation. That’s okay for the company to do, but it’s not okay for you.
Failing to consider the other person’s side extends to following up on resumes. “Hi my name is Mary Johnson. I sent you my resume last week, and I was wondering if you received it.” The response, invariably, is “If you sent it, we have it.” And Mary hangs up the phone frustrated, no wiser than before she called.
The reason is that she was expecting the person to remember her. Failing that, she expected the person to invest their time in finding the answer. The odds are very low on both. Had she said, “Hi my name is Mary Johnson. I have 10 years experience in marketing, specialize in product rollouts and spent last summer in Italy. I sent in my resume for the Director of Marketing position and was wondering if you’d received it?” She’d have had better luck receiving an answer.
The reason this method is more successful is because first, she clued the person in as to the position to which she was connected. Secondly assuming product rollout experience was a requirement in the ad, she indicated she had relevant experience. And third, she’s mentioned something that probably has made her stand out among the others who sent in a resume.
The memorable fact doesn’t need to be related to the position, but it does need to be something unique so it’s likely to cause a bell to go off. Odds are very few resumes listed spending any time in Italy. And lastly, she hasn’t assumed anything. She’s made helping her convenient for the person with whom she’s speaking by giving that person a clue as to who she is.
Another common example of failing to give a clue occurs in emails. People have an annoying habit of hitting reply and typing their message without giving any thought to the subject line. Consequently, it’s assumed that the sender’s name is sufficient enough to get the email read. The subject line is there for a reason: to indicate the contents of the email message.
When the recipient is making decisions as to which emails to read first, the sender’s email may be deleted, designated as not urgent, or mistakenly filed without ever being looked at. If you’re emailing with a hiring authority during the hiring process, this can cost you time, being heard, lack of recognition or worse, a bit of annoyance – connected to you – every time they read your emails. Additionally, when a thread continues with the same subject but the topic changes, it’s difficult to find the email you’re looking for.
In the message people commit the same violation they do in the phone example above. They fail to fill in the circumstances or tag themselves to facilitate identification. They behave as if the person they’re emailing doesn’t email with anyone else or has been sitting at their desk, waiting for this particular email.
In the Q & A teleseminars I do, I frequently ask people to email me with more information, and what I receive is an email that requires I either send it back and ask the person to refresh my memory as to which question they asked, or go looking for it myself.
Pay attention. Think your communication through from the other person’s viewpoint. Don’t take it for granted that they know who you are. Wouldn’t you rather your name be connected to appreciation rather than annoyance?