By Connie Kadansky, President & CEO www.exceptionalsales.com
The key to success in job search is visibility, visibility, visibility. Your past performance alone does not determine whether you get that job. In their best-selling business book The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, pioneering researchers, George Dudley and Shannon Goodson discovered something more important than performance: self -promotion. Some of the most highly paid and powerful professionals they interviewed did not attain their positions by being the most technically competent. They did it through purposeful self-promotion.
Some people are natural self-promoters. They were born with the instinct to self-promote. For others — and often the most loyal, motivated and deserving — self-promotion is emotionally difficult. Job seekers can be rendered invisible by a spirit-crushing condition called the fear of self-promotion.
In our culture, the highest rewards do not go to the hardest working, most intelligent, or even the best prepared. The highest rewards go to the people who are most “willing” to self-promote. Self-promoters know that they must knock on doors, make the phone calls and do whatever is ethically necessary to attract attention. If they are unwilling to do so, opportunities will simply pass them by.
When I “say” self-promotion, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of that slick guy in your past employment who was loud and always telling everyone how great he was? Or your former boss who was totally incompetent but had somehow convinced someone that she knew what she was doing? Or do you remember the competent co-worker whom everyone knew and respected — and is still employed? It is important to ponder your relationship with self-promotion.
The good news is you don’t have to become a loudmouth, an extrovert or even gregarious, to be effective at self-promotion. You do have to develop confidence and learn to take the lead when it’s appropriate. People who promote themselves do not hold back. They do what they need to do to create visibility.
Following are three characteristics of effective self promoters:
1. They position themselves and make sure that they get noticed.
They fully utilize their existing contacts and networks and are always developing new ones. Have you reached out to your entire existing network? Are you staying in touch and keeping your finger on the pulse in your industry? Recently a friend landed a job that had 800 applicants. She wasn’t aware of the job opening. However, because she kept in touch with her network, three people forwarded the job notice to her. She had established a network that was her eyes and ears. She started her new job this week! How many new contacts are you making daily? How many proactive conversations are you initiating daily with new contacts? Who can you see or call today who will make the difference in your getting your next interview?
2. Effective self-promoters make sure that they get remembered.
What is unique about your style? How do people remember you once you have communicated with them? Do they remember your unique background? Your accent? Your sense of humor? Your attitude? Your follow up? Recently a physician shared an experience about a job seeker who wanted to work for him. The physician admitted to being non-responsive to this individual’s phone calls and emails. However, when he got a hand-written professional note, he agreed to meet with the job seeker. What is it about your style that makes you memorable?
3. Effective self-promoters are consistent.
They know that a lost opportunity will go to someone else. They repeatedly “show up” even if they are not in the mood. Jim Collins author of Good to Great says that the “signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” Effective self-promoters know their numbers. You cannot manage what you do not measure. What activities can you do today that will get you closer to your next interview?
If you find yourself caught between the desire to promote yourself and the fear of appearing immodest, you are in fear and your confidence will take a nose dive. When your fear buttons get pushed and you start down the self-doubt spiral, you must neutralize it immediately. Notice it and then say, it’s “interesting” that I am choosing to focus on… (fill in the blank). Become keenly conscious of your internal obstacle. Hiding, denying and suppressing it keeps you from moving beyond it.
When you are hesitating to reach out and contact an employer and you stop, become acutely aware of what it causing you to hesitate. Is it something like “they have 10,000 people applying for this position, I don’t have a chance.” Yikes! Again, neutralize it immediately and choose a different thought, i.e. “I have as good a chance as anyone, I choose to capitalize on this right now.” It is empowering when you take responsibility as to how you are choosing to think about yourself.
A good salesperson always knows their value. They are also not blind to their weaknesses and the potential objections that may come up. Role play those tough interview questions, i.e. “what are your weaknesses?” (Don’t you dislike that question?) Figure out how you are going to answer that and role play so you don’t get tripped up on those tough questions that may cause you to lose your poise.
Remember, if you don’t toot your own horn, there will be no music.
About the Author:
Connie Kadansky, executive coach assists people in getting their “ask” in gear. She is a certified coach through International Coach Federation. Connie’s coaching focuses on strategy, structure and execution which are the keys in any job search. www.exceptionalsales.com