How to get your next job or promotion – by finding your sales voice

sell yourself

Selling yourself in the job market is about finding your voice. Anyone looking for candidates wants to know what you are, first. And yet, incredibly, when jobseekers are asked this predictable question, they all too often give a useless fluffy answer, or worse, they give their life story.

Do you know what your core message is? Are you communicating that verbally, via your CV, via your LinkedIn profile, via your elevator pitch? Do you even know what you are right now?

It’s important to avoid the I-don’t-like-to-pigeon-hole-myself cop-out, because if you can’t present your skill-set succinctly, recruiters and hirers will struggle to understand your place in the workforce, and if this happens, they won’t bring their vacancies to you.

Selling yourself starts with getting noticed, and here some advice on how to do just that:

Distil your message down to draw people’s attention to the crucial information first, so that they actually want to learn more about you. Remember: first impressions are incredibly important.

Once you’ve crafted your elevator pitch you should use it at the beginning of your CV/resume and then build the broader message around it.

Your CV/resume is the tool that provides more information about you, now that you’ve been noticed. Its purpose is to secure you an interview. Avoid the mistakes that so many people make: the clichés, repetition, fluff and opinion. Use facts and achievements to inform and impress.

When you are a jobseeker, your LinkedIn profile makes for an excellent online CV. Its trusted because the fact it’s in the public domain makes it less likely to be greatly embellished. Use your elevator pitch in the summary of your profile to create that all-important good first impression. Add ‘keywords’ – the words that are most likely to be used to find someone of your skill-set.

So now you have a clear message, use social media to hone in on the who-is-who of the working population. It has never been easier to identify your next potential boss by way of a speculative approach.

It’s reckoned that up to 70 per cent of executive level positions are NOT advertised. That leaves the highly competitive 30 per cent that are. Do you want to scramble over the competition in the 30 per cent pool? Or land that next opportunity by showing some initiative? True: you won’t know where those opportunities are, but just like in sales, you increase your luck by increasing your activity. The more approaches you make to potential hiring managers, the more likely you are to find one who is interested in hiring you! The only exception to this is if your skills are no longer sought after, and if that’s the case, either re-skill or retire.

If a promotion is your goal, then think about who they tend to promote. You’ve got to get noticed by the right people. What do you need to communicate to them to get their full attention? Do they know you’re committed to getting a promotion? Why should they promote you as opposed to your colleagues? Can social media help you demonstrate your skill, or perhaps help you to improve your skill by getting advice from people who know? Keep asking the question – How can I get promoted – and you will find answers. Then take action.

If you hide no one will notice you – and the jobs and promotions are likely to pass you by. So, find your voice, and use it! Get noticed and you’re more likely to secure that dream job or promotion, and better still the opportunities will come looking for you.

Richard Pimm of Toastmasters International.