If you want to sell your skills at a job interview you must learn to think like a marketer, because marketing is the skill you need to sell all your other skills.
Whether you’re yet to graduate or have graduated already, the ability to market your skills is probably the most important skill you will ever acquire, so this week I want to share five ways to think like a marketer and sell your skills at a job interview.
Perhaps you are even good at it right now but don’t realise!
What exactly is marketing? Marketing is the act of promoting and selling a product or service people want. In your case, you are selling skills an employer needs to solve a problem: how will you do that?
Here are five ideas to help you think like a marketer and to sell your skills both on your CV and at a job interview:
1). Make it clear you have the solution.
The first thing you need to make sure is that your potential employer knows that what you have is what he or she is looking for. This is where you pay close attention to the job advert and, as accurately as you can, match your skills to the skills the company is looking for. It may seem obvious but a surprising number of jobseekers don’t do this. They talk about what they like rather than what is relevant.
2). Make the message strong.
In marketing, it is important to work out a right price. You can look at this as meeting the entire range of skills listed across the person specification, both essential (a must) and preferable. The more of them you have, of course, the stronger your application will be – but what about also looking closely at each skill? How can you make your description of each one more compelling? Factors like the number of years’ experience using the skill can help. Perhaps you had a part time job or helped an aunt by babysitting while you were still at school. It also helps if you’ve used the skill in a senior position, perhaps as a project leader. The more developed a skill is in you the more compelling it will register in the mind of the interviewer.
3). It’s all about people.
Whatever type of job role you go for bear in mind that the main skill behind everything a company does is communication – and the reason why is because we are dealing with people. All great marketers know this. They know how to bond well with others. This may include being a very good listener; having a clear speaking voice and being able to use it to explain things simply; good use of body language when you speak (using your hands and facial expression in a way that aids your ability to get your message across); and understanding that people like to feel noticed, so you interact and engage with them while speaking. Perhaps you’re good at making people feel comfortable, or you have a calm persona that places you at an advantage when dealing with difficult or angry people.
Try to emphasize areas where you have learnt to work well with other people, even if you think they aren’t that important. Whether your job involves face-to-face contact with others or not communication and people skills are important.
4). Maximize the details.
Marketers are good at identifying and working out details that can be emphasized. In this case, skills acquired through interests, hobbies, travel and voluntary work tend to sing out on your CV but many jobseekers miss this.
Employers love to see that you have a wide and varied set of skills that you’ve acquired outside of set academic routes. The very fact that you have them reveals a lot about the type of person you are – energetic, go-getter, out-of-the-box thinker, social, etc. The ability to speak another language is increasingly desired by employers since most companies now have global operations via their online presence. Playing games like chess or Monopoly, especially if you play regularly or in a tournament of some kind, can reflect an ability to think strategically, work well with others or to be able to stick with tasks. Researchers list skills such as competition, cooperation, decision making, emotional intelligence, planning and reflective thinking all as attributes that can be developed from playing board games. You can also develop them by getting involved with sports and with other social activities. Such interests help you learn to deal with mistakes, develop self-control and to defer gratification, so if you play them don’t leave off from talking about them on your CV or in the interview room.
5). Don’t forget to be creative.
The other area to exploit is the marketer’s creative ability. Creativity is the ability to see new connections where you didn’t notice them before. It’s about combining two or more things to create a new outcome or perspective, so where have you done that in your life? It may not be in a work setting – perhaps you love to make up your own recipes or you have some unusual ways of recycling what most people consider garbage. Dig out stories about your creative skills and use them to market yourself.
There you have them, five ways to think like a marketer and sell your skills at a job interview.