Sell The Gap On Your Resume
By Elinor Stutz
A common question from job seekers these days is, "How do I explain being out of work for a year or longer?" This is where a few sales techniques may successfully be applied.
The first is to approach the problem from a positive standpoint and leave fear behind. Whenever you meet with clients or hiring managers, speak with confidence.
The way you express yourself is how you are initially identified. In other words, all the ways you communicate -- including your attire, facial expressions, body language, as well as manner of speaking -- work to build your brand. Given the importance of communication, it's wise to practice telling a short story for you to get the feel of how you come across to others. However, when you deliver your story in person, it should sound natural and not rehearsed.
Whenever an "objection" arises in your meeting, such as your being unemployed for a long time, cheerfully acknowledge the statement with a smile on your face. This is referred to as "agreeing with the objection." The person interviewing you will be pleasantly surprised by your calm demeanor and will appreciate the forthcoming open dialogue.
Telling Your Story
Now it is your turn to shine by telling your story in an honest, open manner. This improves your brand and standing. For example, describe in your own words how you took the time off to vacation, rest your mind and do some soul-searching. During the process you recognized your true talents and interests. You took it upon yourself to self-educate further in this new direction, to ensure a long career.
The next step is to apply the information that you researched about the company and its industry (prior to the interview) to the job described, as well as your updated interests. Keep your story to two minutes or less because people do not like to listen to long-winded explanations.
The final sales technique is to finish your personal story with a "buy-in" question such as, "Do I sound like the type of candidate you are seeking?" Buy-in refers to getting the other party to say, "Yes." Sales experts agree that you need three to five "buy-ins" or mini-agreements to make a sale or advance the interview. What transpires is that the other party, by agreeing with you several times, will begin to talk themselves into recognizing that you are the best person suited for the job.
Remain truthful at all times, and do your best to appear and sound relaxed and happy. No one wants to hire someone who seems desperate for a job. Once you are on the premises of the hiring company, the job is no longer about you but about how you will help the company solve their problems.
This method of conducting meetings and interviews builds your brand on many levels. Among them, you demonstrate leadership, confidence and creativity, and these are traits usually sought after.
Applying these sales techniques to the interview will help you advance toward hearing "HIRED!"
In the last quarter of 2011, job seekers will be treated, at no charge, to an online career convention. It is a community effort arranged by companies and sponsors to help get Americans back to work. The only requirement is that you register to attend the sessions by clicking the following link: http://bit.ly/AmericaHires360.
Upon gaining employment, remember that working on a grander level with others will enable you to enjoy far greater visibility and many "a smooth sale!"
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC, authored the tnternational best-selling book, "Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results" and "HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews." She delivers inspirational keynotes at conferences, team training, private coaching and finds joy in helping her clientele turn their dreams into reality. Elinor is available upon request for consultation.
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The Personal Branding Blog offers branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals learn how to build a personal brand for their own career and job search success. It is an AdAge Power150 blog and has won many other awards, including "CareerBuilder.com's 6 Job Blogs You Should Be Reading," "FINS 5 Marketing Blogs For Your Career," "Intent.com's 2011 Career Blog," "MC Hammer's Top 10 Favorite Blogs," and has received recognition in Spain, Singapore and many other countries. The blog has been syndicated by Aol Jobs, Yahoo! Shine, Forbes, FoxBusiness.com, Reuters, Hoovers, BusinessInsider.com and many others.