Know your worth. This statement is especially true when it comes to looking for a job. People who are worried about finding a job target positions that are is below their experience and skill level. This approach results in two problems for the worried job seeker. First, many employers will consider this type of candidate “overqualified.” Second, employers who hire candidates that are will to sell down their skills will pay them less. In the current economy, income is more of a challenge than employment. A step down will make it even harder to earn what you deserve in the future. Stepping down to get a job can be very expensive in the long run.
How can you know your worth? First, take an honest inventory of your skills. List everything that you know or can do that you think an employer needs. The next step is to test your list. Gather a good sample of ideal job posts (I’d suggest at least 8-10), and make second list of what employers are looking for. Finally, compare the two lists and align your skills with employers’ needs. Once you’ve done that, you have the profile you need to earn your maximum value. Beware of selling yourself short – the price is too high.
What if your plan to find a new job doesn’t work? Do you have a back up? If you’ve performed different kinds of work, take advantage of that experience and give yourself more opportunity. I’m currently working with a client who is therapist. He is also pursuing positions that take advantage of his skill as a manager. To give himself even more opportunity, he’s networking to explore positions in counseling and training. This smart job seeker has given himself a Plan B and a Plan C. Examine your career and try to develop plans to take advantage of skills that might let you pursue a different kind of work. In most cases, that means developing a second or third resume and cover to support your different types of job searches. It’s a little more work in preparing to look for work, but it can give you more opportunities and choices in finding a new employer.
Is your job search stuck in park or, worse still, moving in reverse? Over the last 8 years, I’ve worked with clients who are unhappy with the progress of their search. Often the biggest problem isn’t that a job seeker isn’t putting forth a good effort. The problem is more often preparing for a focused job search.
Before you write your resume or apply to a job, the first step is to do some homework. Start by collecting 5-10 job posts that would be ideal positions for you. Review the job requirements and note how you are a good match for this kind of position. Next, consider how you might have transferable skills and experience that an employer would value. Finally, note the little things such as computer skills, certification, and compliance. These details are very basic and they are also easy to use as a way to scan a resume.
Note all of your selling points and put together a resume that will speak to the employer’s needs. Don’t get caught up in a situation where you have to check off every job requirement bullet. Few if any applicants will be able to do this. Use the gut check test: If you think you can do a job, apply for it. However, be sure to do your homework. That will the first step in making the phone ring.
There are two ways to think about writing a sales resume: general and specific. A general sales resume positions a job seeker to apply across industries. At the same time, it doesn’t claim that the applicant can sell anything. Some general resumes will emphasize inside or outside sales skills. Others will emphasize territory sales or account management.
A specific resume will focus on a type of product or technology. For example, I recently worked with a client who sells IT systems to hospitals and large medical clinics. In this type of resume, the job seeker chooses to limit her opportunities, but she does so for a strategic purpose. By appealing to a specific type of industry or product, a job seeker is leveraging a special knowledge. If there are enough employers in that area or if the job seeker has strong network connections, a specific sales resume can be a great tool in landing interviews and offers, often with higher earning potential.
Applicants seeking a position in sales need to think about how specific or general their resume should be. They might also consider having two versions if they are going to seek jobs that fit a specific type of knowledge and general skills. When it comes to sales resumes, there are few one size fits all solutions. Think about what strategy fits you best.