One of the best qualities of a wilderness hike is beginning to find yourself. That’s also the beginnings of how to present those qualities in the marketplace.
So let’s start working on your marketing campaign. I’m going to address this as if you are job seeking, but the same applies to promotions. Later, we’ll talk about what to do when there don’t seem to be job openings.
I can’t even begin to tell you the times I sat across from an applicant trying to drag out information while the candidate sat there quietly merely responding in short sentences when pressed with questions, most of it vague (useless) abstractions and generalities, until I finally gave up and thanked them for coming. Next applicant.
Any good merchant needs to know what goods are in the shop. Any good salesperson needs to…well let’s start. Time to change our thinking again.
First, sure, the world is filled with poor sales people. The world is filled with poor musicians too, but you don’t let that become what music means to you—you listen to the many, many very good ones. Same here.
Sales does NOT mean hyper-pressure bullshitting. Sales does not mean manipulation. Sales does not mean playing games. Stop that already. Not many will be successful long with that ridiculous strategy.
Rather, sales is service. People have things they need done, and they look for people who can do the job. If I’m looking for a good bass player, I don’t care about his rap—I want to hear him play. If I’m looking for a good graphic designer, I want to see a portfolio of her work. If I’m looking for a good construction crew, I want to know what else they’ve built. I want to know these are the right people for these particular needs.
And that’s what good salespeople do. They identify needs and match their skills and service to the client’s need. If you’re an awesome heavy metal bassist, but I need someone for a jazz gig, you’re not the guy, despite your talent. And that’s OK. You’re not going to hire my jazz bassist to sub for you at a heavy metal gig either. It’s about matching needs to services. That’s what you’re going to do.
Far too many people post a resume online or mail out batches of resumes and sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. Good luck with that. Sure, everything works sometimes. And sure, try everything. But not as your primary strategy, and not if you’re managing your time. Prepare to be by the phone a very long time.
Why? You’re putting all the work on the employer. YOU are the product expert, because YOU are the one who knows YOU and YOUR SKILLS. Don’t simply hope and wait. That’s wishful thinking, not a plan. Besides, the employer simply needs a qualified body, and doesn’t need to sort through all those resumes online or on the desk. That’s not a good use of the employer’s time. And it doesn’t bring your skills and goals to the forefront of this interaction.
Instead, target jobs. Each resume and cover letter should be tweaked depending on where it’s going and for what specific position. Each interview should be carefully prepared especially for that job. And each follow up should solidify what happened at that interview. Be what the employer is looking for, and be ready to ensure that happens, not simply to wait for it to happen magically. It is a huge mistake to just leave yourself open to whatever, applying for anything the employer might have. Rather than improving your chances, this actually hurts them, because you will never appear qualified, let alone best qualified, the majority of time.
Getting the job you actually want is ironically easier than a “I’ll take anything” approach. First, you can focus on those specific qualifications, and that already is a better approach, because the employer can see how you would be a good fit. There’s an old adage in marketing, “The confused mind says No,” and a vague fit is an unclear picture, a No. Second, however dedicated you are to a “vague” job search, you can’t help but put far more effort into a search that simply means more to you. You want it. You’re determined to get it. You aren’t going to let a few setbacks deter you. And finally, you bring an energy, a dedication, an enthusiasm to something you love that shines through—and that is something, when it’s genuine, every employer is glad to see. That’s the kind of people they want in that job—the kind that were made for it, the kind that love it.
In marketing, businesses often endeavor to find their “niche.” You should do the same. Who are the people you love? What kind of people? What do they like to do? What are their lives like? What challenges do they face? These are the kind of people you want to work with—and people who love you, as you are, for who you are, what you think, and how you can help them with a piece of their lives, so much so that they’re happy to pay for it. When you find that fit, not only are you happy, but also the business that just hired you feels lucky to have you.
When I was managing an independent New Age book store, we had one applicant who wasn’t really knowledgeable about the store’s contents overall, though she could get by as a sales clerk, a pleasant young woman. However, in the back, the store also sold a small selection of cotton drawstring clothing. Now I, true to my gender perhaps, know nothing and care nothing about clothes. But Alya! She started spending all kinds of time back there instead of upfront. When I took a look, she had organized all the various clothes into outfits neatly pinned up at the end of each bookcase stack. “That’s nice,” I thought. But I had missed the point. Instead of selling a few clothing items here and there, Alya sold people outfit after outfit. People started coming in just for the clothing. She was just doing what she loved—and the store benefited tremendously.
If we don’t count sleeping, most people spend more time at work than at home with family. Do what you love. For yourself first—life is meant to be enjoyed. But also for your employer and for the clients you’ll serve. Everyone benefits. And that’s the way to sell your qualifications for a job.
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October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness