No matter how good you are at selling, when it comes to selling yourself - even seasoned professionals can come unstuck.
Selling, or marketing yourself as a candidate for hire can be challenging, especially in the detail. "Does my CV look attractive to employers?" "If I email my dream company, will I sound desperate?" "Did I come across too arrogant in that interview, or not interested enough in the opportunity?"
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to market yourself as a candidate if you know what you’re doing - and at Pentasia we have many years’ experience of understanding and communicating the ‘selling points’ of the candidates we work with.
And lucky you – we’re about to share our pearls of wisdom with you in 5 handy tips. Now you have no excuse not to go for that dream job!
5 Tips To Market Yourself To Potential Employers
01 Tailor to your audience
Number one rule of sales and marketing = know your customer. The same applies when you are pitching yourself as a candidate: you need to be relevant to the employer you’re applying to. Research the organisation, read the job description carefully, and ascertain the gaps the company is trying to fill by hiring someone. Then describe precisely how you can fill that gap, based on your prior experience, qualifications or attributes. It’s worth rethinking this for each role you apply to, as different parts of your skillset will be more relevant for different employers. Whether that’s rephrasing parts of your CV to make it more tailored, or leading with different points when asked ‘what are your key strengths’ at interview – remember to keep in mind your audience at all times.
02 Use examples
When pitching a product, evidence and testimonials are excellent sales tactics. The same is true when you’re marketing yourself as a candidate: examples and stories help your potential employer visualise why you would be a good fit. First take your CV: it should be achievement led, rather than experience led. Although it’s fine to include a sentence for each role summarising your responsibilities, more space should be dedicated to your key achievements (in short bullet points). Remember to be succinct and specific, with numbers where possible. At interview it’s fine to tell a story about times where you’ve excelled, but keep to the point and don’t waffle. You might find it helpful to practice describing your best career moments at home, aiming to be engaging yet clear.
03 Prepare thoroughly
The better prepared you are, the better you will be able to market yourself in person. Interview preparationshould cover four things, (1) Research the company and your interviewers, (2) Prepare succinct answers to common interview questions, (“what are your strengths/weaknesses, describe your career journey, why are you looking for a new role, what do you know about this company” etc), (3) Prepare specific examples or stories that evidence your achievements and (4) Prepare a set of insightful questions based on your research. Follow this four-pronged approach and you can’t go far wrong.
04 Use testimonials or your online portfolio
Even if you can sell yourself brilliantly in person, visual examples of your work or testimonials of people you’ve worked with can give you even more credibility. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to link to your online portfolio, website, GitHub, or testimonials on LinkedIn or otherwise to provide extra evidence to support why you’d be a great candidate. If you know anyone at the organisation you’re applying to, get them to put in a good word for you. Remember to keep it relevant and only link to sources that you think your potential employer will find interesting.
05 Be positive and open
Always be positive and polite during recruitment processes. Even if you weren’t actively seeking a role and feel the company should be selling to you, appearing uninterested or sceptical will not do you any favours. Being human is OK too – if you’ve got any career gaps or parts of your CV that need explaining, it’s best to be open with your potential employer, while putting a positive spin on any experience.
For example, rather than detail how your ex-business partner ran your joint venture into the ground...
...Say “During this period I opened a business with a friend; ultimately it didn’t work out, but I was really grateful for the experience and I learnt some valuable lessons that got me where I am now”.
Ready to put these tips into practice? Send us your CV today to arrange a consultation or browse our latest payments jobs advertised.