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Selling yourself as a job seeker: Networking and your Personal Brand

Have you ever found the perfect job for yourself and then found it impossible to get the interview?

Job seekers today are facing a growing challenge to getting noticed. Partially, that’s because 76% of resumes submitted to job postings are not even seen by a human being.  The chance of getting an interview is understandably low unless you know how to navigate the job seeker playing field. So then how do you overcome the odds and make yourself stand out amongst the crowd?  In this day and age, you have to know how to sell yourself. The first rule of sales is getting the attention of the right people. While that rule is hard and fast, venues and protocols are changing at a faster pace than they have before. To help you stay current on the fundamentals you need to sell yourself as a job seeker, we’ve put our heads together to share what the most successful job seekers have done to get noticed and get hired.

Networking

  • Grow your visibility by growing your network.
  • This can be done face to face at networking events or online. Either way, approach it strategically. Face to face networking remains the most salient way of making an impression. It gives you the chance to showcase your uniqueness and your desire to provide value. After a good face to face connection, invite the person to also connect with you via business oriented social media such as LinkedIn. When you send the invite, include a reminder of when and where you met. If possible, include something unique from the conversation such as a joke you shared to trigger her memory!

 

  • It’s important online or offline to show what value you can give the person you are forming the connection with.
  • Demonstrate your value by showing the benefit you can bring to the person. Listen to every person with the intent to leave him or her with at least one thing of value. It could be a client lead, a resource, the latest and greatest book you read, or an introduction to someone who might be helpful to them. In some cases, you may have no other choice other than making a cold contact. Be sure you have considered all possible connections and affiliations to warm things up and always send a personalized message. If the person is in your geography, you may open with something like “I hope you are staying warm on this wintery day”. It’s tempting to click “Connect” on every LinkedIn profile who seems like a good connection for you, but this could contribute to the information overload we are trying to avoid.

 

  • You want to stand out in an engaging, professional manner, so do it concisely.
  • Imagine the inbox as a networking event. If you have ten people talking to you at once, you’ll selectively listen to the ones that stand out in a relevant way to you. The same behavior applies for email and social networking messages. The ones with concise and relevant information and a personal touch have a better chance of landing a response than landing in the recycle bin.

Personal Branding

  • What makes you you and not just another “insert title?”
  • How can you describe what contribution you make to people with context beyond the title of your position. You are not just a Line Cook at Lock50, but the “detail orientated chef that assures the highest quality is put on each plate.” This is where you show verses telling your value. Highlight results you have produced and actions that you’ve taken to build your success. Show where you have been on your individual career path and where you want to go in the future. Actions speak louder than words. When it comes to the business world, this remains painfully true. You can say that you tackled mountains of work, but if you do not have the data to show, there’s no worth in telling. Talking the talk is one thing. If you want to change the game, show what you can do!

 

Now that you know how to cut through the noise and get noticed, you’ll need to be ready to walk the walk – in an interview of course.

Stay tuned next week for Part II: Selling yourself in an interview. Happy Networking!