I get asked a lot of questions as a sales speaker and sales training consultant and this week I was asked a question by several salespeople and a magazine about how to position yourself to get that sales job in today's market so I thought that I would jot down my thoughts...2012 was a tough year. For many, a very tough year. I have written several sales training articles and reports about what salespeople, entrepreneurs and business owners need to do in today's economy to succeed but what about salespeople looking for new sales roles? What can they do? How can they help themselves to secure the jobs and careers moves that they want and desire?
- Maintain a positive mental attitude. Finding the right role in any market requires motivation and to get the best out of yourself before and during your job search you need to focus on maintaining that positivity and ignoring the negativity that many people are displaying.
- Have belief. Much of your mental positivity, or lack thereof, will stem from your beliefs. Do you believe that you can secure your dream job? Or do you believe that you cannot? Simple beliefs such as these will determine how you feel and therefore how you act. Take time to focus on what you need to believe to succeed and seek out evidence and examples that support those beliefs.
- Decide on your perfect company and role. Spend some time deciding who the perfect company you'd like to work for would be. Many people do not spend enough time thinking about this and end up in the wrong jobs. It is important that you know what kind of company you want to work for, what kind of people you want to work with and what kind of role you want to do.
- Utilize your networks. Utilizing your networks is a powerful way of finding the right role. Recruiters always use their networks and the more successful the recruiter, the more extensive their network is likely to be. Finding a new role through your network makes sense as it is likely to be a good fit and you have an immediate "referral". What's more, in today's market many employers are trying to utilize their networks to find suitable candidates to try and save money so you would be daft not to utilize yours.
- Take massive action. Finding the right role means taking action. To succeed in finding the right role for you today you need to be proactive. Many candidates ask me, "How proactive?" The answer is simple, "Do what it takes?" You need to accept that there may well be fewer jobs and more qualified applicants so take this as a cue to step up to the plate and up your batting averages.
- Tailor your resume and application form. Every job application should be aimed at winning that specific job. When employers have more choice they are able to pick the best. Make sure that your resume and application form is as good as it can possible be for every role that you apply for.
- Do your homework. Basic common sense dictates that you should do your homework about the role, the company and the individual interviewing you where possible. Start with the internet and your favorite search engine, move on to sites like LinkedIn, speak to your personal network, read the company website in detail and even consider ringing the company and asking for brochures, missions statements and product details.
- Think about how you add value and sell the sizzle and the steak. Yes, people want to know what you've done, where you worked and what your qualifications are but just as importantly they want to know how you can add value for them and their business. In today's marketplace, companies tend to be holding back on "headcount" recruitment and filling important "value" based roles. If you can demonstrate how you can add value perhaps through examples of how you added value in previous roles then you will stand out from more mediocre candidates.
- Plan & prepare answers to the most likely questions. Think about the most likely questions and plan how you will answer them. Think about what you want to convey and how you want to convey it. There is never a second chance to make a strong first impression.
- Learn from your interviews and don't give up. In today's market it is likely that you may well apply for, interview for and fail to get some of the roles that you go for. This is to be expected. How you respond to these setbacks is critical. Don't get despondent and allow it to affect your next actions and interviews, use it as a learning experience to make your next interviews more successful.
And remember, you make your own luck in this world. Good luck!