Selling the Sizzle
by Michael Mayher

When you are seeking to be hired, promoted or chosen for anything ahead of others, all similarly vying for the same thing, it is essential the hiring manager is happy and excited about the hiring decision they’ve made. Being just good enough to be the last resort or the final option isn’t a winning strategy.

Having a well-thought-out reply to the question of, “why should anyone hire you?” is a key component of your efforts. Lacking a clear and decisive answer to that question, and others you should anticipate as likely, is negligence on your part. However, before as well as when they meet you, you must attract their attention. When meeting them, there is that thing about first impressions, but you can’t stop there; so what kind of person, what impression will they have -- of you?

In sales and marketing they sometimes say you’ve got to sell the sizzle, meaning something has to catch their eye and draw attention, in this case, toward you. You know there are a lot of other people out there who want the same thing you do. When you are presenting your resume, as an initial representation of yourself, you are both your own marketer and sales person to your own cause.

Your resume
The manner by which you present your experience and accomplishments on your resume matters; the info should be more than simply a bland timeline and historical record (yawn). Features and Benefits are the key, but it is more than that. Often people put an Objective statement near the top of their resume; this is meant to be a little personal message of some kind with the hope of framing your intention for the reader’s benefit. If you are going to do this, it needs to actually be what it is intended to be - an attention getter. It doesn’t need to be outrageous but it should be something that pulls in whoever is reading to continue to read on. Bland and general statements that only take up valuable space on a resume waste the reader’s time and ultimately yours too. So the obvious next suggestion is, forget the Objective statement and instead compose an effective cover letter. If you use a cover letter it needn’t be long but it should be impactful; a couple of paragraphs will do.

Your attitude is the best place to start. I don’t care how nervous you are, even if you are sad, angry or bitter when you meet, you’d better have on your game face. People who convey anything other than a positive and can-do attitude aren’t helping themselves. Pissed-off people with a chip on their shoulder don’t usually get job offers and only succeed in creating for themselves a vicious circle (no pun intended) in which they become mired. Don’t misunderstand me; I am not suggesting you become someone completely different and someone you are not. If you don’t have confidence in yourself and your ability to do the job for which you are seeking to interview, you shouldn’t waste someone else’s time. If you are confident and know it, then show it. I am not suggesting you get in peoples’ faces and freak them out or to be overly glib. How you carry yourself is emblematic of who you are and a firm handshake, while looking them in the eye when you introduce yourself with a smile, is your face-to-face start point.

Regarding the sizzle factor, it’s simple really, if you haven’t sat down and invested some time to contemplate and list the reasons as to why you are a valuable employee and what benefits your efforts can have brought to your current and past employers, you need to do so. Determine a couple or a few of the best and notable attributes and accomplishments and lead with that. Include a preview or two in your leading introductory statement.

Once you’ve determined what to use and how best to incorporate it into your repertoire, never be shy about talking to anyone. The reason is simple: you have good news for them and worthy of their attention. Any initial stonewalling or ambivalence is usually because they are accustomed to everyone looking and sounding the same – yep, imagine if you can, that there are jaded HR and company managers who are bored to death unless you snap them out of it and they’ll pay attention to you. Don’t be taken off your game if you meet someone who is ambivalent or perhaps even difficult. Often they are bored until they meet someone who awakens their senses; of whom they sit up and take notice. Why shouldn’t that person be you – but you’ve got to give them a reason.

Remember, you are your own marketing and sales manager and if you neglect this aspect, then you sound like everyone else and you’ll have little success in getting anyone to seriously consider the product and solution you represent. You.

More articles by Michael Mayher:
Question Everyting
We have software for that
Selling the Benefits
Be Indispensable
Unprepared for the Interview
Workplace Harassment
About Urgency
Job Seekers Hurt Their Own Chances
Another Warning About Social Media Exposure
The Problem with HR
Get Noticed
The Chicken or the Egg
The Confidence Deficit
Earn the Opportunity to Say No
Resume Usefulness
After the Interview
Getting an Invitation
Reference Checked Before the Interview
Networking Effectively
A Failure to Communicate
Increasing Your Chances
Why You Should Heed My Advice

To Those Still Asleep
The Way It Was/The Way It Is
Demonstrating Interest is Not Begging
Confidence is a Key Ingredient
Stop Relying on the Internet
Career Survival Skills: The First Interview
The Interview
Resolve to Make This Year, Your Year
Periodic Update of Your Resume

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.

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