Quite Frankly . . . Part 3
The third of a series of articles by Mike Francomb, senior vice president of marketing - candidate services - at RecruitMilitary and a former captain in the United States Army.
I have been with RecruitMilitary since 1998, the year the company was founded. In that time, I have worked in a variety of roles, including recruiting, sales, and marketing. Down through the years, I have heard a lot – and read a lot – about the problems encountered by veterans as they go about the job of getting a job.
In many cases, the problem has more to do with the job seeker’s understanding of, attitude toward, and/or approach to the job market than conditions in the market itself. In this article series, I will cite examples of what I have heard and read. Then I will respond, quite frankly.
I hate sales!
The thought that defeats a job seeker before the search even starts
I receive a lot of email from veterans who are seeking new careers. Over the last week, I have been amazed by the number of emails that in various ways describe the job seeker’s disdain for sales. I mean downright hate!
I get it that most people do not wish to endure what every salesperson in the world has to work through daily – rejection. However, without realizing it, job seekers who “hate sales” are setting the stage to be rejected by employer after employer. They are missing the fact that they have to sell themselves. By being so negative about sales, they are torpedoing their job searches.
Even if your preferred job involves very little interpersonal contact – if you want to be a hands-on electronics technician, for example – you must first be a salesperson to sell yourself to a prospective employer. So, repeat after me – I love sales!
I can almost hear the moaning and groaning as I write this – and all of the “yeah but’s” from people who do not believe it applies to them. However, after 16 years in the recruiting industry, I can tell you with great confidence that getting the job that you desire and deserve as a human being is all about selling.
If you are a job seeker who “hates selling,” what does all this really mean to you? Let’s take a few minutes to go through some basics of selling – you really can become your own best salesperson.
Stop telling the world and yourself that you hate sales. Right now, say out loud, “I love sales!” Repeat this sentence daily – multiple times a day, if needed.
Always present a positive image. Leave no doubt that you would represent a company very well. If you are used to rolling out of bed on weekend mornings and going to the store dressed in your pajamas, stop doing that. You never know who might see you or say hello to you at the store. Work to present your best self to the world at all times.
Smile when interacting with everyone! The smile breaks down virtually every barrier that exists between normal human beings. It can set 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 is well written and without error. Do not rely on only your buddy who speaks in fragmented sentences to perform this review. A single mistake on your resume can turn it into an office basketball. Imagine the recruiter lobbing your wrinkled-up resume into the wastebasket. Find someone who will practice interviewing with you, and conduct mock interviews. Encourage that person to be tough on you and offer critical feedback on your answers.
Determine the needs of the employer and show how you meet those needs. This is the key to success for the superstar salespeople of the world. They understand their customers’ needs and how to meet them. Who are your customers? Until you land your next job, your customers are employers who have jobs you want. Research companies in your area that have the types of positions that interest you. If the companies have open positions advertised, apply to them with individualized resumes. And if you can, include individualized and unique cover letters. If you are applying for a job online, when you enter your profile in the company’s system, be sure to use the same words used in the job description. If you fail to do so, no human being will ever see your application. Find people who are already working in the company – or at least in the industry. Reach out to them via LinkedIn, 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 the specific company, if the person has that knowledge.
When you interview, be ready to close the interviewer and ask for the next step in the interview process. Or, if you are at the last step of the process, ask for the job. Let the interviewer know that you truly are interested in working for the company. Do not leave the interviewer to wonder if you are interested.
If you take these points to heart and focus on executing them, you will begin to see a change in how things go for you in your job search. Getting a job is hard work. It is often a slog through the mud to get there. But you can make great strides by changing your mindset from the beginning and becoming the best salesman of yourself that you can be. You really can change your attitude to: