Many of the job seekers I have counseled over the years were able to find a job once they got the hang of promoting themselves in a confident yet realistic manner.
One of the problems many job seekers have is the fear of promoting themselves. They will send a resume’ to a prospective employer, and submit to an interview, but they have trouble separating themselves from the pack. This short article will address critical facets of the art of self-promotion to help you stand apart from the competition.
It is absolutely critical to portray yourself in a positive light, while calling attention to your assets.
For example, if you are young and inexperienced in your career, you should decide what assets you may have that will help you overcome your lack of experience . . . and communicate them clearly to the prospective employer.
Perhaps you are a very hard worker, and you're loyal and reliable. Those are assets all employers value. So find a way to say it! Don't assume people will know that about you. Say it in your cover letter in a way that really captures attention.
Say it on the telephone or in person. For example, “I work very hard at my current job. I am one of the first to arrive and the last to leave. I give 110%. "
Don't be afraid to toot that horn.
One of the young women I worked with was having trouble finding a job. She was just answering classified ads and filling out applications on-line. The problem was she wasn't doing anything to make her resume’ stand out from the crowd.
And her resume’ was selling her short.
We worked out a plan for her to rewrite her resume’ to make it more complimentary of her skills and knowledge, and turned her resume’ into a first class marketing tool, not just a piece of paper with some dates and facts on it.
In talking with her, I realized she was reluctant to promote herself. She felt as though she shouldn't say anything good about herself, for fear of sounding egotistical. I pointed out that employers want to hire self-confident people who have high self esteem . . .
and when you are looking for a job modesty is not the best policy.
We worked on effective ways she could promote herself, which included talking frankly about her talents and strengths. Once she was able to speak highly of herself and tell someone exactly how she could help their business and talk about the problems she could solve for them, she was prepared to find a job.
She went from meekly sending out fairly useless pieces of paper with fancy printing on them to advocating for herself in a powerful yet professional way. My client is the kind of person any employer would want to hire, but she wasn't saying that clearly enough. How would they know?
Now she knows she must not be shy about it! It's hard to advance in a career or find a better job without mastering the art of self-promotion. It's a matter of frankly and enthusiastically selling yourself!
My client began calling perspective employers and asking to speak directly to the person who had the power to hire her. Now she was starting to get somewhere. She spoke of herself and her skills in such a bold new way, she began to put her best foot forward.
In order for you to speak highly of yourself you must know yourself, and understand what makes you different or special . . . and what separates you from the competition.
You must know what employers are looking for, and how you can fill the bill.
Speak of your assets and skills as accurately as possible. If, for example, you are very good with customer service, tell the interviewer about the special accomplishments (or talents) you have made in that area. Be prepared to back up your claim. Offer examples of how your efforts have helped your previous employers, organizations to which you belong or civic groups which you may serve. Draw from your personal experience.
An Enlightening Exercise
I asked my client to write a list of positive personal characteristics that would enable her to be a successful employee. She came up with a list of seven traits. Then I did my own list, based on my observations of her. I came up with 23 traits. Together we had a total of 30. It blew her mind. Never had she seen herself in such a positive light!
She realized how unaware of her skills and assets she was. And the exercise opened the door to seeing herself in new ways. Now she was armed with a sense of her true potential, and the many possibilities she truly had open to her. Now she was ready to talk to people about herself in a way that exuded confidence. And it paid off!
What If You Don't Know Your Strengths And Assets?
If you aren't sure what exactly you have to offer - skills and characteristics that have meaning and value in the marketplace - ask those who know you well to help you form a clear and comprehensive picture of yourself, as a marketable entity.
When your friends and allies talk, listen carefully and take notes. They will see some of your good traits - traits you may not as yet see. Use this new information to broaden self-understanding and advance yourself along the career track.
The key to finding a job is often a dogged belief in yourself, self-awareness and the willingness to present yourself in a positive and glowing light . . . without being afraid of coming off as an arrogant jerk. You aren't arrogant, but you are competitive and you want to succeed.
And you want to articulate your assets in a forthright manner. Go ahead, toot your horn.
Any employer will respect you for it!
Richard Hamon is a professional therapist, consultant and coach with over 25 years of experience. Richard helps people to enjoy truly extraordinary relationships and find exceptional success in all areas of their lives.
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