Most people end up with jobs that result from a series of half-baked actions and fortunate accidents. Ask a dozen executives to retrace their careers and you’ll hear a dozen versions of “this happened” and “that happened” but very few saying “I wanted this so I did that.”

When you try to get a better job by sending out a bunch of resumes to businesses you barely know, you are doing the equivalent of “cold selling,” says Jeffrey J. Fox in “Don’t Send a Resume.”

“Cold calls have a low success rate. The customer may have absolutely no need for the product, may not even be in the office. …The person who receives the resume may have no need for an additional employee, may not even be the hiring person.”

Fox is right. Resumes don’t usually work, because they are designed wrong. They are all about you, the job candidate.

But the person doing the hiring is not at all interested in you. He’s interested in his business — the problems and the challenges he faces every day. He’s interested in hiring you to help him meet those challenges and solve those problems.

He doesn’t care about — and doesn’t have time to consider — your career goals, what you like to do in your spare time, and what organizations you’ve joined. He’ll only even listen to that kind of information if he thinks it will help him out in some way.

But the more he reads about what you want and what you need, the further away he feels from his own wants and needs.

That’s not what you want to do.

Let’s Face It, When It Comes to Getting a Better Job, the Process Is a Sales Event.

The product is you. The customer is the business you want to work for. And the process of selling yourself should resemble a sales call, not a celebrity interview.

How do you sell something?

You start by doing some background work. You study the potential customer base. You try to understand what they need, what worries and confuses them, and what their problems, hopes, and desires are.

You become close to your prospects, because you know that when it comes time to sell you are going to have to answer their questions, solve their problems, and convince them that you can help them achieve their dreams.

In this case, you have to sell your “customer” on the idea that you can make its business better. To do that, you need to figure out how you will improve its profits. And to accomplish that, you need to study it.

We’ll talk about how to accomplish all that in the next few messages. For today, it’s enough that you spend a few minutes thinking about the premise of my argument: If you want a better job, you have to be willing to sell yourself as a better product.

Ask not what a better job can do for you but rather what you can do for your next job.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

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