In a highly competitive job market we have to address what is deemed by some to be a dirty word – “sales”. The images we conjure up when we think of sales are often negative: The pushy sales associate, the annoying telemarketer, the blow-hard Salesman. However, if we are to be successful at job interviews and in furthering our careers we really need to use some sales techniques to promote ourselves.

So, how are we going to re-package “sales” and incorporate it into our modus operandi?

Firstly, let me point out that the negative stereotypes are all examples of bad sales techniques. We don’t buy from people who are pushy, bullying or annoying. Well, at least we might be bullied into buying once, but they won’t ever get our repeat business.

The problem is that when someone is highly skilled at sales we don’t even recognize what they are doing as selling! Therefore the only sales techniques we recognize are the bad ones.

The first thing that makes a good sales person effective is that they listen. Understanding the needs of your customer is the first rule of being successful at selling.

When applying for jobs, we often only look at the position in terms of what it will give us. Our first question should be – “what does the employer need?” The second question is then obvious: “How do my qualifications, experience and working style fit their need?” These questions should inform how we approach writing our resume, crafting our cover letter and conducting our interview.

Instead of dazzling our potential employer with all of our accomplishments and great qualities we should focus on what they specifically need from us. We can use their job description as a starting point, but we also need to research online and ask questions at interview to really gain an understanding of how we choose to market ourselves to them.

If you are not afraid to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers, then you are not afraid of selling.

Career Selections can train you to be an effective questioner and listener – if you are interested in learning how, please contact us for more information: