How To Sell Yourself Like A Product

How To Sell Yourself Like A Product
by Carole Martin

Interviewing for a job is in many ways comparable to a sales person making a sale. If you were a sales person and were about to sell a product to a customer you would do some homework or research so that you could convince your customers that your product was the best product on the market to fill their needs.

If you think of this scenario and apply it to the job interview process you will find that it is a powerful tool to use for your interview preparation. What do you have to offer (as a product), to the customer (the employer)? What do you have that will fill their needs (the requirements of the job)? What can you bring that is unique or added value to the position/company? (that sets you apart from the pack)?

Let’s begin with “what you have to offer.” Think of ways to present your key qualities throughout the interview. An example of this technique is when interviewing for a position that requires “strong organizational skills.” You will want to let the interviewer know you are not only organized, but that your organizational skills have made a significant difference in your performance. If you can give an example of a particular event that you organized and how your organizational skills made a difference in a past job you will make an even stronger sell. Anyone can say that they have “strong organizational skills,” but not everyone can give specific examples of a time when they had a success using those skills. Don’t tell them – sell them – with proof of a past experience or success.

Next, begin to think about what the employer’s needs are and how your product can fill those needs. You can accomplish this by studying the job description or posting. Read through the posting or job description once for content. Then, read it a second time for specific words that are emphasized. There will be specific words used according to the job or industry that you are applying for. Make a list of these words to use as “key factors” needed. Now, return to the job posting and read it once more. This time read “between the lines.” What would it take to do this job? If for instance, there is a statement such as, “Position will require frequent collaboration and interaction on all levels of staff and management,” you can gather that “strong interpersonal” and “communication” skills will be needed to do this job. By making a list of “key requirements” you can match them against what you have to offer.

The last factor to prepare for your sale is to let the employer know that you have the ability to “fit in.” and be a “team player.” The interviewer will not only be looking to see if you can do the job, but they will also be checking to see if you will be a good addition to the team. Don’t dismiss your personal traits in your sales “pitch” preparation. Identify skills that make you unique such as “interpersonal skills,” “attitude,” and “willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.” These skills could make the difference between yourself and an equally qualified candidate getting the job offer.

When you take the time to prepare for the sale of the product – YOU – you will have a better chance of convincing the customer or buyer that you are just what they are looking for. By the time you leave the interview the interviewer should have a strong sense of what you have to offer and why they should hire you – why you are the best person for the job to fill their needs.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Fear of Interviewing for a Job

Fear of Interviewing for a Job
by Carole Martin

Your heart is beating faster than usual, your hands feel clammy, your mouth is so dry it feels like you have cotton inside — and you’re supposed to feel confident. Are you going to an interview or a torture session? The answer is –“it’s all in your perspective.”

Ideally you would sit poised thumbing through a magazine, feeling relaxed as you wait your turn to have a conversation with the interviewer for the company. Think about it — what do you have to lose here? What’s the worst thing that can happen? What if you don’t get this job — is the world going to stop turning? I realize of course, that bills must be paid, but you are taking the wrong approach if you are going to come across as desperate — “Please, please, hire me.” Interviewers smell fear.

A change in thinking

The first, and most important step is to change the way that you view the interview. This is not an appointment with the dentist who may inflict pain. It is a conversation with another person. What is the worst thing that can happen as a result of the interview? You won’t get the job, which may not have been the right job for you anyway.

Secondly, this is a conversation — a two-way process. You will be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Is there a good fit here — both ways? What looks good on paper may not be what it appears — for either party. It will be part of your job during the interview to investigate whether this a good place for you, and whether you want to invest a significant part of your life here. When you are not checking them out and what they have to offer you are missing an opportunity that you may regret later.

Calming techniques

One of the best techniques to handle stress is through breathing. Take deliberate, shallow breaths. Take air in through the nostrils and exhale quietly through your mouth. This is a technique that should be practiced as a relaxation technique before the interview so that your body gets used to slowing down the breathing process and relaxing.

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, and meditation classes, are recommended for anyone who has an extreme case of “interview fright.” The interview can cause panic attacks if the fear is strong enough. Pre-conditioning will do wonders for this type of anxiety.

Preparation before the interview

These are competitive times and you should steel yourself to expect some rejection. Think about it this way, “Did you get a marriage proposal after every date?” Well, you probably aren’t going to get a job offer after every interview.

For every job you apply for there are more than likely three to four equally qualified candidates in line for the same job. Whether you stand out from “the crowd” will depend on your preparation and ability to show confidence in yourself — believing that you are the “best candidate for this job.” How can you possibly sell anyone anything if you don’t believe in it yourself?

Preparation will make you feel more confident and less anxious. Can you imagine giving a performance without some practice and preparation? “Winging” the interview in today’s market is a big mistake.

Fear of Rejection

You may have had a number of interviews with no offer. You may be feeling defeated, and it’s beginning to affect your-self esteem.

This would be true of anyone. But it is a mistake to take it personally. There are so many factors that could be affecting the offer that it is impossible to say what is happening. There may be internal candidates, relatives promised jobs, a competitor who is a perfect match for the job, a lack of chemistry between you and the new boss, a mismatch in salary needs, etc., etc.

Let it go

Give yourself credit for getting an interview — only a small percentage of people get this far in the process. Give yourself credit for going out there and putting yourself on the line, even though it is painful for you. Give yourself permission to not get job offers. Believe that an offer will come through when it is the right offer — the right fit for the company and for you. Take the control back and reject the feeling of fear.

When you have done everything to prepare for the interview, and you are satisfied that you can present yourself in the best light possible, the next step is for you to let it go. You can learn something from each interview. Learn to enjoy meeting new people and having new experiences. Who knows you may even grow to like interviewing.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

The Offer Is Not Always As Good As It Looks

The Offer Is Not Always As Good As It Looks

by Carole Martin

Have you ever negotiated an offer?

If not, you are not alone. Most people DO NOT negotiate salary. They accept what is offered.

Whether you negotiate a salary or not is secondary to doing your homework before accepting an offer. It is always best to take some time before signing on the dotted line so that you understand exactly what you are gaining – or losing.

Here’s an example of someone who jumped at an offer before doing his homework.

Nicholas received an on-the-spot offer and was thrilled. This was the job he wanted and he was anxious to get started. He was going to get more money, and a bonus. What more could he ask for?

When he got home that evening, he sat down with pencil and paper and began to evaluate the offer, and what he was getting overall.

He was not only shocked by what he discovered, but wished that he could go back and talk about some of the issues. But, he had signed on the “dotted line” that afternoon.

Once you sign the offer letter, you have essentially signed a contract. It is too late to go back and negotiate. Never accept an on-the-spot offer, unless it is absolutely out-of-this-world. It is generally wise to evaluate what you are gaining and losing.

Let’s look at what Nicholas found out by doing some simple calculations.

Nicholas was offered $55,000 per year, with a hiring bonus of $5,000 paid in two payments over the next six months. This was a $5,000 a year increase from what he was making on his last job, and a bonus to boot. An extra $10,000.00.

When he and his wife looked over the benefits package they discovered that he would now have to pay the insurance premiums for his dependents. His last employer had paid the premiums for the entire family.
-$350.00/per month – $4200 per year

His new vacation package offered two weeks time off, accrued over the next twelve months. His former package included three weeks vacation.
-$962.00 one week’s vacation pay

Nicholas was receiving a 6.5% yearly bonus, based on company earnings in his last position. His new company does not have a planned bonus as part of the salary. Bonuses are earned based on performance, and given as judged appropriate.
-$3250.00 per year – lost bonus

His former employer matched 50 cents for every dollar contributed up to 6% on his 401K account. This company does not match funds. -$1500.00 per year (based on 6% contribution)

His calculations showed a minus of $10,000 a year from his new offer, based on cost of insurance premiums, lost bonus, and lost matching 401K contributions. He wasn’t quite so thrilled with the offer anymore.

At least he got that $5000 hiring bonus, which will cushion the fall. But even that will be affected – he didn’t anticipate the higher tax rate on “special” checks that was deducted from the bonus money. These higher rate taxes can run as high as 41.5%.

Nicholas got the job he wanted, and maybe that is worth more to him than the money difference. But, it would have been wise to make the decision with all the facts before signing the offer letter. He may have been able to negotiate another $5,000 to compensate for the benefits differences. Or, given the higher tax rate he could have negotiated for an increase in the hiring bonus.

It is always best to take some time to reflect on the “total package.” Benefits can be worth another 20-50% of your salary. There are other factors to consider besides money – more challenging work, better company, a greater opportunity. It may be worth giving up dollars now to invest in your future. However,the decision should be thought through before rushing ahead.

If pressed to give your answer to an offer on-the-spot, always stall for time. Tell them that you need to do some calculations and think about it. There is only one window of opportunity to negotiate your terms of employment.. Once you say “Yes!” – the window closes.

Make sure you take the time to consider all your options. It’s not always as good as it looks.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Multiple Offers – So What’s Your Problem?

INTERVIEWING

Multiple Offers – So What’s Your Problem?
Carole Martin www.interviewcoach.com

In a tight job market, multiple offers sounds too good to be true. So what’s the problem? Choose the one that pays the most and move on, right? Wrong. If you don’t take time to evaluate the offers, you could find yourself searching for a job again in no time.

Assess Your Wants and Needs

First thing that you will need to do is to evaluate your needs and which of these offers fits your situation the best. It may be time well spent to plan out a strategy to evaluate the offers.

Exercise

Put together a spreadsheet with the company names across the top. Down the left side of the page list your values and needs. Under each company’s name assign a score from one to 10 for each of the following as appropriate for you:

  • Security: Have you been laid off? Are you looking for a home with a solid company?
  • Balance: If you have a family or outside life, you may not be interested in working 60 hours a week. Rank the importance of job and your personal situation.
  • Job Satisfaction: You probably want to feel your work means something in the bigger picture, that you are contributing and making a difference.
  • Location: This goes hand-in-hand with balance. If you have to spend three to four hours a day commuting, it will mean time spent away from your interests or family. Telecommuting a couple of days a week may be a possibility.
  • Salary and Benefits: These are certainly important considerations but are they as important as some of the other values? You want to be paid what you are worth, but would you be willing to negotiate to get some of your other needs met?

After totaling the columns compare total scores. The totals may reveal that although one of the companies offers more money, the risks are higher and the time away from your “life” may not be worth the extra dollars. Your priorities will affect your decision. The decision will be about priorities and values – and where you are in your career and life.

There are always variables that cannot be predicted when accepting an offer, but using an analytical approach the decision can be more objective. Making a bad decision can result in your being miserable and feeling unfulfilled, but unable to leave because you have only been in the job for a few months. It’s always best to evaluate any offer, but if there is more than one offer to choose from — it is essential.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Tips to Boost Your Job Interview Confidence

Tips to Boost Your Job Interview Confidence
by Carole Martin, The Interview Coach

You say you’re feeling nervous about interviewing? Guess what – so is everybody else. It is very common to be nervous before the interview. It’s also OK to be nervous. Being anxious can raise your energy level and that’s a good thing.

Here are some other tips that will raise your energy and your confidence.

Demeanor, and Attitude can mean a great deal in the interview. The interview begins when the interviewer first sets eyes on you. Whether you are sitting or standing make sure that your posture portrays self-confidence. The interviewer extends a hand to shake and this is the first connection made. Make sure you give a firm, not bone-crushing handshake. This applies to shaking hands with men and women. While
you are shaking the hand, check out the eye color of the person you are connecting with. Eye contact is especially important to show confidence.

Preparation will make a huge difference in your confidence. The act of writing out your answers to difficult questions, particularly if you have a “glitch” in your resume or background, is important to sounding prepared.

Read through the job description/posting — one, two, three times — and then read between the lines. What are they looking for?
While you’re at it, check out their website and do research on the company. Read their mission statement. If it “reeks” of teambuilding jargon, make sure you are prepared to talk about your past experiences working with teams.

Practice makes perfect. If you rehearse your answers you will feel more confident. Use a tape recorder, watch yourself in front of a mirror, or get a friend to practice with you. Practice, practice, practice — it will make a difference.

Enthusiasm could be the tie-breaker between you and someone else getting the job. If there are two or more people interviewing for the same job, the one that shows passion and interest in the job could be the one chosen. This is a quality that you will have to feel and not fake. If it isn’t there, it will be difficult to pretend it is. Make sure you are interviewing for jobs that are of genuine interest to you and not just somewhere to get a paycheck. You will be happier in the long run and a better performer as well.

Be Yourself. One of the factors in choosing the right person is finding out whether you are going to fit in. If you believe in yourself it will be easier for you to be yourself in the interview. Basically, would these people interviewing you want to work side-by-side with you day after day? And, would you want to work side-by-side with them? Remember, this is a two-way process.
You are looking at them at the same time that they are checking you out. Turn up your intuitive powers. Listen carefully and read between the lines. Is this the right place for you?

It’s OK not to get a job offer. You won’t get a job offer after every interview. It’s a tough job market with lots of competition. Go to the interview and give your best performance. Once you’ve done that it is out of your control. Sometimes there are factors that have nothing to do with you, but will prevent you from getting that job offer. That’s OK — your turn will come eventually.

Searching for a job is not easy. You may find your emotions rising and falling like a roller coaster. It’s important that you keep your morale up during this period of job search. Don’t give up. Giving up is defeat and you’re not a quitter!


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Three Common Deadly Mistakes Made In Interviews


Three Common Deadly Mistakes Made In Interviews

Carole Martin – www.interviewcoach.com

Since no two interviews are alike, it is difficult to be prepared for what lies ahead, but you can focus on your presentation skills, which may be even more important than what you have to say. Three areas of performance, which should be considered dangerous and deadly, are worth spending some time thinking about before your next interview.

1. Poor non-verbal communication image

It’s about demonstrating confidence –

  • Stand straight, and make good eye contact. (Note the color of the interviewer’s eyes.)
  • Connect with a good, firm handshake. (There’s nothing like a limp response in a handshake.)
  • Sit erect and lean forward in the chair, appearing interested and attentive. (Slumping denotes a lazy attitude.)

That first impression can be a great beginning, or a quick ending to your interview.

2. Poor verbal communication skills

Your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly.

  • Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what they said.
  • Observe your interviewer’s style and pace and match that style, adjusting your style and pace to match.
  • Use appropriate language. (Beware of using slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics, or sexual preferences – these topics could get the door slammed very quickly.)
  • Telling the interviewer more than they need to know could be a fatal mistake. (Too much information – particularly personal information – could get into some areas that are best not discussed in an interview.)

3. Not asking questions

It is extremely important to ask questions.

  • When asked, “Do you have any questions?” if you answer “No,” it is the WRONG answer!
  • Asking questions gives you the opportunity to show your interest. (The best questions come from listening to what is said and asked during the interview. Ask for additional information.)
  • Asking questions gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. (Your chance to find out what goes on in the company.)

The job market is very competitive and the competition is fierce. Give yourself every advantage by preparing and practicing before the interview. Be aware of your verbal and non-verbal performance and the messages you are sending. It could make the difference between a job offer or not.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

The Who, What, and Why of Interviewing

INTERVIEWING

The Who, What, and Why of Interviewing

Carole Martin, The Interview Coach – www.interviewcoach.com

Interviews can be daunting to the most experienced job seeker, and “terror-ific” for the less experienced. Preparation before the interview can make a huge difference in your confidence level. Here are some basic questions to get you thinking about the process.

One of the questions most frequently asked in an interview is –

“WHO ARE YOU?” – or – “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.”

The answer you give to this question will
set the tone for the rest of the interview. Focus is the key or you will wander
about in a circle, or dig yourself into a deep hole.

The secret to success with this free-form
question is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to “wing”
this statement, as it will have an effect on the rest of the interview.

List five strengths that you have that
would be pertinent to this job. (Experiences, traits, skills). What do you want
the interviewer to know about you when you leave?

Practice with your script, until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script is a way of helping you stay on track, but shouldn’t be memorized, resulting in sounding stiff and rehearsed. You should sound natural and conversational.

One of the most dreaded questions by candidates is –

WHAT ARE
YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS?

This open-ended question, and others like;
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” throw most candidates off
balance. The object of the question is to check for your self-awareness and
communication skills.

If you are the type of person who prefers
an organized way of life, you may find this question a “piece of
cake”. But, if you are among the majority of persons who let life happen as
it comes along, you will probably not have a smooth answer without some
forethought.

The best answers will come from you
thinking about what you want. Most successful business people will tell you that
a key success factor is the ability to set and achieve goals. Begin by setting
short-term goals. Right now your goal may be “to get a job”. But, what
kind of job? And, where do you go from there?

No one can tell you exactly how to answer
this question – it will come from what is important to you. However, the more
focused and employer-centered you can be about your goal, the better your
chances will be of steering the interview in the right direction.

Another among the dreaded questions is –

WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?

This is another broad question that can
take you down the wrong road unless you have done some thinking about what to
say ahead of time. This question is about selling yourself. Think of yourself as
the product. Why should the customer buy?

Develop a “sales” statement. The
more detail you give the better your answer will be. This is not a time to talk
about what you want. It is a time to summarize your accomplishments and relate
what makes you unique.

Start by looking at the job description or
posting. What is the employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it
take to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements.

Next, do an inventory to determine what you
have to offer as a fit against those requirements. Think of two or three key
qualities you have to offer which match what the employer is seeking. Don’t
underestimate personal traits that make you unique – your energy, personality
type, working style, and people skills.

Completing an exercise around this question will allow you to concentrate on your unique qualities. Like snowflakes, no two people are alike. Take some time to think about what sets you apart from others.

Regardless of what you are asked in an interview, preparation and practice will improve your performance and give you a better chance at competing with the other candidates. Knowing who you are and what you have to offer is vital for success!


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ,” both available on Amazon.com. Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Interview Bloopers and How to Correct Them

Interview Bloopers and How to Correct Them
Carole Martin –www.interviewcoach.com

I’m sure you’ve sat through movie or TV “bloopers” at the end of shows and laughed at the mistakes the actors make during the filming of the show. If I could put together a film with bloopers that people make in interviews it might seem funny as well – but not when it happens in real life – to you!

How do you avoid bloopers? First you become aware of what some of the pitfalls of interviewing are and then you prepare and practice so that it won’t happen to you. Here are 10 of those very pitfalls to watch for.

1.Poor non-verbal communication – slouching – fidgeting – lack of eye contact

It’s about demonstrating confidence – standing straight, making eye contact, and connecting with a good, firm handshake. That first impression can be a great beginning, or a quick ending to your interview.

2. Not dressing for the job or company – “over casual”

Today’s casual dress codes in the office, do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to look professional and well groomed, above all. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call and find out what the company dress code is before the interview.

3. Not listening – only worrying about what you are going to say

From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not listening – turning up your intuitive – you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what they said. Observe your interviewer and match that style and pace.

4. Talking too much – telling it all – even if it’s not relevant

Telling the interviewer more than they need to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time you may tend to ramble, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting; matching your skills with the requirements of the position, and relating only that information.

5. Being over-familiar – your new best friend is NOT the interviewer

The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. The level of familiarity should mimic the demeanor of the interviewer. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview, and to ask questions, but not to over-step your place as a candidate looking for a job.

6. Using inappropriate language – you “guys” know what I mean

It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics, or sexual preferences – these topics could get the door slammed very quickly.

7. Acting cocky – being overconfident – “king of the hill”

Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism, and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, over-doing is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

8. Not answering the question asked – “jumping in without thinking”

When an interviewer asks for an “example of a time, ” you did something, he is seeking a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a “specific” example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you miss an opportunity to prove your ability and tell about your skills.

9. Not asking questions – a missed opportunity you will live to regret

When asked if they have any questions, the majority of candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer! It is extremely important to ask questions. It demonstrates an interest in what goes on in the company. It also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what is asked during the interview, and asking for additional information.

10. Appearing desperate – “Please, please hire me!”

It’s a tough job market, and you need a job! But, when you interview with the “Please, please, hire me, ” approach you appear desperate and less confident. Maintain the three “C’s” during the interview: Cool, Calm, and Confident! You know you can do the job, – now, make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.

Everybody makes mistakes – that’s what makes us human. We can laugh at ourselves a great deal of the time when we get tongue-tied or forget someone’s name – even our spouse’s. But in the interview you want to be as prepared and polished as possible. If you do make a mistake, consider it a human error and learn from the experience. In the meantime do your homework and get prepared.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ.” Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|

Finding Your Uniqueness in Today’s Job Market

Finding Your Uniqueness in
Today’s Job Market

Carole Martin – www.interviewcoach.com

If you have been reading articles or listening to news reports about the job market, it becomes obvious that the number of people currently seeking jobs outnumbers the jobs that are now available.

If you happen to be one of those job seekers, you realize that you are competing against the odds. The question is, “How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?” The answer is to “focus” — focus on what makes you unique.

Let’s assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview. You, and maybe nine or ten other equally qualified people for the position, that is.

Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the “best.” When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you be ready to sell yourself, to let the interviewers know what makes you unique, what added value you can bring to the position–in other words, why you are the best person for the job.

By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention. The first step in this process is to identify your five strengths. These strengths are the areas where you do very well.

This may take some thought on your part. What are your strengths? Think about previous performance appraisals – what was said or written about you? What would your co-workers or ex-bosses say about you?

  • List the skills and experiences you have that
    would be required in the type of job you are seeking.
    For instance, a
    technical job would focus on programs, languages, and platforms, etc.
  • Give some thought to those skills in which you
    excel, those that are referred to as the “soft skills.”
    These skills can
    be viewed as transferable– you can take them with you to any job you hold.
    Examples of these skills are your communication and people skills, or your
    time-management and project-management skills, or your ability to build strong
    relationships, or your ability to influence others.
  • Lastly, think of the personal traits that make
    you unique.
    Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you are willing to
    do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great attitude.
    (Don’t dismiss these traits–many people have been fired for negative personal
    traits rather than for lack of knowledge).

When you have identified your five strengths, make a list of those strengths and some examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job. It will be essential that you can not only identify your strengths, but that you also have examples and stories of times when you demonstrated those strengths in the past.

The next step is to look at the job postings and ads. In fact, look at several job postings that would be of interest to you. Your goal is to find key words and phrases. For this exercise, don’t limit yourself to geographical location. Look at jobs of interest located anywhere.

When you have several postings, read each word and sentence carefully, taking notes as you do. What are they looking for? What words appear consistently in almost every posting?

Now, take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side of the paper write, “What they are looking for, ” and on the other side, “What I have to offer.” Each time you apply for a position, it will be invaluable for you to know how you stand against what they are looking for. This exercise will help you see how close a match you are and where you should focus.

Your next step is to add your uniqueness to the “What I have to offer” list. Some postings will list additional skills required, which make it easier for you to see what is important to them. An example would be, “Must have excellent communications skills, strong organizational skills, and be a willing team player.” If these words appear in most of your posting examples, then make sure that these are a part of your focus. Can you work these words and your five strengths into the interview to demonstrate your fit — and then some? Some postings will be more vague about what it takes to get the job done and will require reading between the lines to determine what other skills are necessary.

In summary, by narrowing your uniqueness to these five basic points, you can guide the conversation to include this information. By focusing on five strengths, you will be prepared with examples of times when you have used these strengths.

Whenever possible, give examples to show how you have “been there and done that, ” and can do it again. It will be necessary to demonstrate that you have what it takes, and then some, to be unique in this market.

When you walk out of that interview room, your interviewers may not remember all five of your points; but if they remember even two of the points that make you unique, you will be ahead of the game!


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her workbook, “Interview Fitness Training – A Workout With the Interview Coach,” has sold thousands of copies world-wide and she has just released her latest book, “Boost Your Interview IQ.” Knock’em Dead – Get the Job! Sign Up to Receive Free Weekly Interview Tips from Carole Martin, The Interview Coach at www.interviewcoach.com

|