I tweeted this article today PSST..We’re All In Sales from Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog and this got me thinking how true this really is. I can definitely see how having a sales background is beneficial for anyone. Sales taught me to not fear rejection because it’s going to happen whether we like it or not and the power of persuasion, if you can find a real reason why people need it, people will buy it.
As mentioned in another post, I’m going to be looking for another job when I graduate and I’ve always considered interviews, resumes, and cover letters very similar to sales: you’re selling yourself (the product) and what you can contribute (the service). Simply pointing out accomplishments aren’t enough and highlighting skills and qualifications are expected. So, how do you set yourself apart? How do you make people want you over everyone else? I think it all boils down to how you present it. Of course, you should have something to present (ie: the right skills and accomplishment congruent to what the company is looking for), but so many people are qualified, maybe even over qualified, that it takes a lot to stand out.
That’s when I take advantage of the cover letter. So often, people use this opportunity to simply restate what is already on the resume as opposed to using it to really explain what you’re capable of. Cover letters aren’t cut and dry “here’s what I can do”, it’s your chance to really explain to the company what makes you an asset and what you’ve done in the past to make you qualified. It’s not difficult, what is difficult is making it interesting and compelling. Don’t simply state what you can do. Explain what makes you so great at what you do. No one knows why you’re better than any other candidate more than you, so use your cover letter to really sell yourself and stand out. So many cover letters are read, but not many of them are remembered. Make yours the exception.
Photo credit: http://bit.ly/gn08SQ