How To Sell Your Skills To An Employer
If you ask most people who are getting ready to make a career change how they’re going to go about selling their skills to a potential employer, the first thing that will probably come to mind is a resume. No doubt, a well-written resume goes a long way toward getting you some face-to-face time with that potential employer, but how do you win them over once you’re there? Partly, that depends upon the position and level you’re seeking. At any level, a prospective employer doesn’t care so much about what you can do as what results you can produce for them; your actual skills are the tools you bring with you. If you’re in sales, for example, the fact that you brought in X amount of dollars in business certainly helps your case, but what will really sell you and your skill set is demonstrating that you understand how you achieved that success, and that you can, in fact, repeat and build on that success in a new company.
The higher you are on the career ladder, the more critical it is that you can not only show that you have skills and proven results, but that you are prepared to show the people you’re interviewing with how your ability to produce those results will benefit their company. Think about what you do best, your biggest accomplishments, what you do that is going to provide the biggest benefit to the specific company you’re preparing to interview with, and the most impressive and quantifiable examples you can give of that.
No matter how high your position ranks, this process really boils down to the most basic sales technique: Identify their headaches and show them how you can relieve their pain. The trick is in how you address the pain – if you clumsily poke at it, they’re likely to react badly. This requires some planning and tact. If, in doing your research, you discover specific problems at the company you’re interviewing with, don’t mention them directly. Use that knowledge to take an oblique approach. When they ask what you’ve done at your current position, give a reply that shows them you can help solve the problem you discovered, without pointing out that you know that’s a problem for them. If your interviewer asks how you would handle a given situation or what steps you’d take to solve an issue, answer directly, but unless they tell you plainly, “We have this problem,” treat the question as a hypothetical while giving your answer.
This is one huge advantage you gain in working with a recruiter: You’ll get a much better feel for what the company needs and wants and what challenges they’re facing, allowing you to prepare the best possible demonstration of how you and your skill set can benefit their company immediately and in the future. Take the time to analyze what you know about every company you’re interviewing with, and mentally prepare to present your own skills and accomplishments in a way that makes you an irresistible addition to their team.