Secrets to Getting
the Sales Job You Want!
By Lee B. Salz
you are in sales, pursuing a new job is much like pursuing a sales
prospect. Your marketing tools have to present you in the most
relevant light. This article tells you how to effectively use them.
compensation plan changed again. The revolving door of company
executives spins out of control. You look at the corporate direction
and you'd like to give the CEO a compass so he can find his way.
Concerned, you've decided that today is the day that you will peek
your head over the cubicle wall and see what other opportunities are
out there. After all, you've been successful. No need to go down
with the ship.
morning you wake up with the inspiration to begin a job search is a
little scary. There is the factor of the unknown. Yet, you pushed
yourself outside of your comfort zone to open the doors to new
opportunity. It's been a while since you last looked for a new sales
home. How do you go from where you are today to a new, fresh
what you want. In sales, you often work with the profile of your
ideal client. The same applies when looking for a job. You need to
know what the ideal fit is for your sales pedigree. If you don't
know what you are looking for, how will you know when you find it?
This introspective exercise is the subject of another article of
mine titled, "Finding
the Right Home For Your Sales Skills." That article walks you
through the exercise of defining your ideal sales role. Don't go
another step in the process until you have read that article.
Develop your marketing tools. Marketing tools? Yes, that is what
a cover letter and resume are all about. When you think of
marketing, you also think of messaging. Many forget this when they
develop their cover letter and resume. However, these marketing
tools communicate a message, a story. The key is to make sure they
convey the story you intend.
the easy thing to do is to create one cover letter and one resume,
it is not the most effective way to pursue a new job. As someone who
has screened thousands of these documents from sales candidates, I
can share with you a little nugget of insight. Hiring managers ask
themselves a simple question when they first peruse your cover
letter and resume. "Do they want my job or just a
job?" We know when you are mass emailing your marketing tools
just like prospects know when you mass email them.
sales, you are taught to make sure your message matches your
audience. Sales is not taught as a one-size-fits-all, but rather a
template that is adjusted to match the need and circumstance. When
prospects feel that they are the sales call of the day, they don't
respond. The same applies to hiring managers. Hiring managers are
looking to hire people that want to work in their organization. They
can feel when someone just wants a job, not necessarily theirs.
Thus, when they get that feeling, your candidacy for the job goes
into the trash.
cover letter is one of the first ways it becomes obvious that you
are treating this as a mass event. The sales person applies for a
specific job, but the cover letter communicates a message that says
they want a different job. It is not intentional on the part of the
sales person. After all, they paid a copywriter a thousand dollars
to create this masterpiece. Copywriters are very helpful to those in
need of assistance in creating the story of their background.
However, the effective cover letter recipe has three ingredients to
it, making it somewhat difficult for the copywriter to unilaterally
Share what you know about the company. Hiring managers
want to see that you have at least done a little research about
them. This is easily done by visiting their website, performing an
online search, and studying them on Hoover's.
Present your relevant qualifications/accomplishments. The
keyword here is "relevant." We've all done a lot of things in our
lives. Pick the ones that you feel are most relevant to the reader
based on what you read when you researched the company. You can also
ascertain this from the job posting.
Show the synergy between the opportunity and your background.
Connect the dots for the reader. If the company is looking for a
sales person that has developed a new territory and you are an
expert at doing that, make sure the message comes out in the cover
letter. Don't expect the reader to see the synergy. You need to map
it out just like you do for sales prospects. When presenting the
synergies, use their language. If they call the position "a hunter,"
refer to yourself as one. If they call bringing in new accounts as
"territory development," you are in expert in territory development,
the objective, isn't the objective. The same holds true for the
resume. Many sales people write an objective at the top of their
resume. Yet, they fail to adjust the title based on the position for
which they are applying. My favorite is when someone writes as an
objective, "To get a sales or sales management position." I can
assure you that approach is a guaranteed way to get yourself removed
from consideration in an instant. Those are two completely different
jobs. "I want to be a pitcher or the manager of the team. It doesn't
matter to me." Again, I just heard you want a job, not
necessarily my job.
you've done. The resume is an extension of the cover letter. The
message should be the same. Highlight the results and areas of
expertise that are most relevant to this opportunity. I'm not
suggesting that you leave certain jobs or employment off your
resume. However, package each one as best as you can to convey the
synergy between you and the company.
job posting, you can usually infer what is most important to the
sales manager. Those usually can be found in the section of the job
description that highlights the candidate requirements for the job.
Include bulleted descriptions and statistics that map back to those
the work to customize these marketing tools may seem huge and
painful, it really isn't. Earlier, I mentioned that you should start
the search process by identifying the right home for your sales
skills. The reason for that recommendation was to give focus to your
search. It allows you to laser-in on those opportunities that best
match you. Thus, isn't it worth the time investment to customize
your marketing tools for those job prospects that are best suited
for you? Wouldn't you do the same thing in pursuit of a major
prospect? I certainly hope so.
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