You say you're not in sales? If you're serious about getting just the right job, you need to be! And, from your perspective, the product you need to market is the most important product you'll ever market: yourself. Fortunately, even though you most likely aren't in sales, there are a number of things you can do to become more effective in marketing yourself for a job.

Perhaps the first and most important thing you can do in preparing to market yourself is to inventory your strengths and weaknesses to determine exactly what you can offer a potential employer. An employer may ask you to name some of your strengths and weaknesses and what you did to overcome the weaknesses. These are standard interview questions. Do NOT ever state that you do not have any weaknesses. Employers frown upon this type of answer. The purpose is to demonstrate to an employer that you have the ability to overcome obstacles and improve processes.

Another factor in selling yourself is to know that employers look at how your skills match the skills required for the job. Prior to applying for a particular position, ensure that you review the job announcement and compare skills required to your skills. Employers don't have time for-nor do they want to receive-irrelevant information. If you aren't sure you possess some of the required skills, think about other jobs that you've held and similar skills you may have used, and then apply those skills to the position you're seeking. Don't fabricate skills. An employer will recognize you're doing so and disqualify you, and being disqualified may further discourage you. Staying encouraged is a key to your success.

One of the biggest challenges you'll face when marketing yourself is having and keeping a positive attitude throughout the job search process. The job search is one of the toughest jobs you will ever have, and you will face some negatives. The chances of you being selected for jobs the first few tries are slim. And, don't get discouraged if an employer doesn't respond to you. They will contact you only if you meet their criteria. Keep in mind that the perspective of employers is that this not about you-it's about them and ensuring their needs are met, not yours. So, go into this process realizing you are going to face some challenges, and ensure this will not interfere with your final goal-obtaining that dream job.

Another challenge you may face is the ability to be flexible in the job search process. For instance, you read a job announcement that appears to be a definite fit for you. You then read the listed salary, and it doesn't fit your needs and/or expectations. You must then be flexible and decide if this is the job you really want and if there are options to enable you to accept the job with the noted salary.

One of the last but most important steps to take during your job search is to ensure that, in selling yourself to an employer, you look and act the part. Put your best foot forward and dress for success. This sounds so repetitive, but even in today's technological world, presentation definitely stands out to an employer. Also, know some facts about the company for which you are applying-this will definitely impress the employer. If you are asked and do not know information regarding the company, the employer views this as a lack of interest because you did not take time to research and, therefore, the employer thinks, you do not really want THIS JOB-you just want A JOB.

As you can see, the job search process can be frustrating, but it can also be very rewarding. Once you reach your goal of getting that dream job, the possibilities will seem endless. We have included just a few tips to assist you, but the most important thing to remember is that you must effectively market yourself. If this gets to be more of a challenge than you anticipated, and you feel you just aren't achieving results, get assistance from our career counselors who offer one-on-one counseling on various job search topics, to include guidance on how to effectively market yourself for that dream job!


This article was written by a member of  The Write Choice team. Contact a member of the resume/career counseling team, Sandy, Liz, or John, through this site for help in becoming a better salesperson for your most important product-yourself.

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