How Military Veterans can Capitalize on Their Sales Knowledge.

"I hate sales"

This quote can defeat a job seeker before they even get started.

In my role at RecruitMilitary, I receive a lot of email from military veterans who are seeking new careers. I’m constantly amazed at the number of emails that describe the individual’s disdain for sales – everything from apathy to downright hate!

I understand that most people do not want to endure the rejection salespeople experience on a daily basis. However, without realizing it, job seekers are setting the stage to be rejected by employers because they are missing the fact that one of most important parts of the job search process is selling yourself. By verbalizing such a negative attitude about sales, they are subconsciously torpedoing their job search.

Even if you have a desire to be a hands-on electronics technician, you must first be a salesperson and sell yourself to the employer to whom you are applying. So, repeat after me – I LOVE SALES!

I can hear the moaning and groaning as I write this, and I can hear all of the “yeah buts…” from many as they describe how this advice doesn’t apply to them. However, after seventeen years in the recruiting industry, I can tell you with great confidence that getting the job you desire is all about selling.

Now, what does that mean to you as the job seeker? Let’s take a few minutes to go through some basics of selling because it really is achievable to be your own best salesperson.

- Stop telling the world and yourself that you hate sales. Right now, out loud say, “I love sales!”, and repeat this three word sentence daily – multiple times a day if needed.
- Ensure that you are always presenting a positive image that leaves no doubt to an employer that you will represent their company well. For example, if you are a person who would roll out of bed on the weekend and go to the store for eggs in your pajamas, stop it. You do not know who you might see or meet at the store. Until you land that next job, make an effort to present the best version of yourself to the world at all times.
- Smile when interacting with everyone! The smile breaks down virtually every barrier that exists between normal human beings, and smiling sets the tone of any conversation.
- Be prepared.
- Understand yourself and what you would like to do so when you bump into the operations manager of the largest manufacturing plant in the region, your elevator pitch is ready to go and will catch his attention.
- Find multiple people to critique your resume and ask them to tear it apart to make sure it’s well written and without error. Do not rely on your buddy who speaks in fragmented sentences for a resume review. A single mistake can mean your resume becomes an office basketball for the recruiter pretending to hit the winning shot of the NCAA tournament in his waste basket.
- Find someone who will practice interviewing with you and conduct mock interviews. Encourage them to be tough on you and offer critical feedback on your answers.
- Determine the needs of the employer and exhibit how you meet those needs. This is the key to success for the superstar salespeople in the world. Those successful in sales understand their customer’s needs and how to meet them. Until you land your next job, your customers are the employers with whom you interview.
- Research companies in your area that have the types of positions you are interested in. If these companies have open positions advertised, apply to them with individualized resumes for that company. If you can, include an individualized and unique cover letter with your resume. If the application process is online, be sure to use the same words the company has in their job description when completing your profile in their system. If you do not include these keywords, your application will not be seen by a human being.
- Find people already working in the company, or at least within the industry. Reach out to them via LinkedIn, and let them know of your interest in the company or industry, and ask them to meet for coffee. Through questions, learn about what’s important to companies in the industry and that company specifically.
- Be ready to close the interview and ask for the next step in the interview process. If you are at the last step of the process, ask for the job. Let the company know that you truly are interested in working for them. Do not leave them to wonder if you are interested.

If you take these points and focus on execution, you will begin to see a change in how things go for you during your job search. It’s hard work, it’s often a slog through the mud to get there, and it all starts by changing your mindset from the beginning and fanatically becoming the best salesman of yourself that you can be.