The holiday season is usually a time for companies to admire (or admonish) their performance in the rearview mirror. Political and economic headwinds aside, one thing we can all agree on is that 2020 was unlike any year in recent memory. The same is true in the recruitment industry, and for those who were planning to explore a new challenge or were displaced by the pandemic, there are still companies making hires with their sights set on a bounce back 2021. If you have considered taking the next step in your career, here are 5 ways to differentiate yourself in a competitive market.
1. Good salespeople know their numbers.
Most people would be surprised if they knew how many people neglect to list their sales targets on a resume. Few things catch a hiring managers’ attention like a percentage of quota attained and a YTD target. The best salespeople can rattle off their quota and the percentage they achieved in short order. If you hit your number, don’t sell yourself short! It’s the first thing a potential employer will want to know and sets you apart from other applicants instantaneously.
2. “But I didn’t hit my number.”
It was a tough year, and some employers will turn a blind eye to a down year and understand if your performance isn’t as expected in the wake of a pandemic. To offset a lack of quota attainment or enhance a strong sales profile, list out the types of accounts you sell into including examples like Buy-Side, Sell-Side, CPG, or more broadly Fortune 1000. Chances are, you have some relationships that may be on their target list. Nothing says "Welcome to the team" quite like cultivating a relationship with a premier account and adding immeasurable value to the business beyond your own sales target. On top of that, if you sell to C-Suite or Partner-level stakeholders, include that too. Most companies would prefer it if you have been battle tested selling to executives before you’re on the payroll.
3. Expand your network.
It goes without saying that the best salespeople are born to network. Many sales leaders adhere to a philosophy that breeds familiarity. If you’re making a cold call, send an email and connect on LinkedIn too. This way, you're appealing to all of their senses and people see your face, read your name, and hear your voice. You may already do this as a successful salesperson anyway, so why not have it resonate in your job search as well? Making the connection with senior leaders in a company you’d like to work for is an under-utilized approach to getting past a stack of resumes and eventually getting hired.
4. Do your homework.
Preparation is perhaps the biggest differentiator in a recruitment process, and candidates are frequently passed on because they try and "wing it" during the interview process. No one expects you to be an expert overnight, but taking an hour to review key stakeholders in the business, learn their mission, and come armed with thoughtful questions is a surefire way to make a good impression. There is an abundance of information readily available on any company worth applying to. Investing a little time can be the difference between a remarkable impression and a forgettable one.
5. Be persistent and consistent.
According to statistics, if you submit 200 applications you will generate at least one job offer. Begin with the end goal in mind and set targets for yourself this holiday season to get yourself in the mix for as many opportunities as possible. Network with recruiters and former colleagues to keep people working on your behalf, and don’t neglect your own deliverables. Setting a reasonable target of 5-10 applications each day will ensure that your job search becomes a manageable process that pays dividends from a little effort each day, instead of a flurry of applications once or twice a week that you sit around waiting to hear back on. Create an excel sheet to track every role you apply into, log your interview progress, and do your due diligence each time you get a chance to sell yourself on an interview. On the interview, have a repeatable set of accomplishments and a relevant backstory. (Talking about selling cars when you're trying to apply to sell software doesn't quite have the desired effect.) Have an elevator pitch ready on what makes you a compelling candidate, dress to impress, ALWAYS maintain a positive demeanor, and don’t forget to send thank you notes to the folks who interview you.
If you do all of the above you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job. If you're interested in hearing about new roles or expanding your own team feel free to drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your resume below.