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Tell 'em and Sell 'em


Guest articles > Tell 'em and Sell 'em


by: Karen Colligan


Picture this: You’ve been laid off and are launching your job search. This is all new to you, and you want to be certain that you do not miss any potential opportunities. You’re at a networking event and someone asks, “What type of work are you looking for?” You pause for a minute and decide to throw out the biggest net possible (gotta catch ALL those potential opportunities, right?) and you say, “I am open to working for an organization that provides opportunity for advancement. I am a go-getter, a fast learner and will be an asset to any company.”

Are you kidding me? How would anyone be able to help you with that generic information? Just about anyone on the planet could say that. The fact is – you are not going to find your next opportunity unless you can articulate, very clearly and concisely, what you bring to the table. If you cannot state your value and the competencies you are known for to the person you are conversing with, he or she will not be able to help. Those are the simple facts. As we all have heard over and over again, unemployment numbers are up, the number of organizations laying people off is up and the amount of open positions is down.

It sounds like a disaster. However, there are
job openings and there are companies hiring.
The key to landing one of those openings is
differentiating yourself from all the other people
competing for the position.

You MUST be able to very clearly tell those
companies who are hiring why they should
hire YOU.
Because if you don’t, no one else

I am now on a new quest to tell anyone who will
listen to me that in order to find work that is
meaningful and uses your skill sets, you have to
state your worth, own it and believe in it. I was
recently at a Job Fair in San Francisco. I was
startled to see how many people came to the
PeopleThink booth and could not articulate the
type of work they were looking for. I was
stunned time and time again as I asked what I
thought was a very simple question, “What type
of work are you looking for?” I heard things
like, “I am a people person and like working
with people” – “I come from the IT world and
want to work with computers” – “I have sold
most of my life and want to continue with my
selling career.” Now, please tell me – how is
that differentiating yourself from the other
people who are 3-deep at the booth?

How does that make you stand out from
your competition? The fact is – it doesn’t.

Let’s start from the beginning…you must be able
to clearly and concisely articulate what you
bring to the table and the type of job you are looking for. Think about your professional
identity. We’ve all heard about having an
“Elevator Pitch,” or 30-Second Infomercial, or
Communication Strategy. I actually like to call
it the “Let’s Tawk Strategy.” It tells the
listener, very quickly and very succinctly, who
you are and what you are looking for.

Your Elevator Pitch might change based on who
you are talking to, so you need to practice
multiple ways of presenting “who you are.”

When creating your Elevator Pitch, think about:

  • The target audience for your pitch
  • What they are interested in hearing
    (what jobs are they recruiting for)
  • Who your likely competitors are
  • What you bring to the table that your
    competitors do not

Remember…”help them to help you.” Be as
clear and articulate as possible.

Yes, I have said that for the third time in this
article. Yes, I mean it!!! Brag a little bit…show
‘em what you’re made of…

You may also want to consider getting business
cards made with your name and contact

Add a tag line about what you do and you’ve
got a mini resume! One more tool to market

Please…oh please…listen to me…don’t show
up at the next job fair and tell me that you
“like working with people.”

Instead, give me your elevator pitch, hand
me a card and then, let’s “tawk!” If you
want a new job opportunity…tell people what
you want…be proud of your accomplishments
and be clear and concise.

Help them to help you…


Karen Colligan is the founder and principal of PeopleThink™ and author of the popular The Great Real Guide™ . Karen has a BS in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and is a graduate of the Coach Training Program at Coach University.

call 1-415-440-7944

or visit:

Contributor: Karen Colligan

Published here on: 25-Oct-09

Classification: Sales


PDF: TellEmSellEmv2.pdf

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