Five Ways to Get Job Interviews in a Recession: Use These Five Sales Approaches to Get More Job Interviews

Many people will not use the techniques in this article because they are afraid of selling. Yet, getting a job is a sales activity and job seekers who know how to employ some effective sales techniques will be more successful.

Think Like a Salesperson

Job seekers need to develop ways that will get the attention of employers. That means thinking like a salesperson. But that may not be easy for many of them because they fear to sell.

Writer Brian Sommers points this out in his article, "The Inadvertent Freelancer" where he advises the unemployed to learn how to sell. He writes, "I learned a long, long time ago that most people hate to sell. They'd rather do public speaking, skydive from a plane and other terrifying acts before selling."

Actually, selling doesn't have to be that frightening. If the job hunter applies the five techniques in this article, it is possible to secure more interviews.

Target the Hiring Manager

Rather than send hundreds of resumes to human resource departments where a nameless bureaucrat will file them in a metal cabinet or wastebasket, send the resume to a real person – the hiring manager. Job seekers should find the name of the manager in charge of the department that uses their skills and sends that person a resume.

This suggestion is consistent with one of the most basic rules of cold calling, which is to target the potential buyer. Joanna L. Krotz, writing for Microsoft Small Business Center, makes this her primary point. In her article 7 tips for turning cold calls into hot leads," she says that the more salespeople define their markets, they greater their chance of gaining access to decision makers. The same is true for job hunters.

Always Include a Cover Letter

A cover letter can dramatically increase an applicant's chance of getting an interview because the cover letter is a good place to highlight skills and position them as benefits.

The cover letter is not a place to restate what is on the resume, but rather, an opportunity to position the job hunter's abilities as a solution to the employer's problems. After reading the cover letter, the employer should believe the job hunter is interested in the success of his or her company.

Follow Up with a Phone Call

A phone call can mean the difference between getting an interview and getting overlooked.
Simply ask the employer if he or she received the resume and cover letter. If they say they did, ask them if they have any questions. If they do, the job hunter can begin a conversation. If they do not have any questions, the job hunter should ask one or two of their own.

Position Skills as Benefits

No one will get an interview, or a job, simply because they went to school or have many years of experience. Employers are looking for applicants who can bring a real benefit to their companies. To get an interview, think like the interviewer. Speak his or her language.

In his book, The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople [Adams Media], Stephan Schiffman talks about the need for sales people to focus on the client's needs. He writes, "Everything you do, every proposal you offer, should lead eventually to the goal of your client's firm." The same is true when applying for a job.

Never Ask for a Job

Nothing can kill a chance to secure an interview faster than asking for a job. While this seems a bit silly, it is true. Even though the job hunter is calling this person with the goal of getting a job and the employer knows it. It is not wise to be too obvious. It makes a job hunter look desperate.

Instead, a job hunter should ask for a brief meeting to discuss how his or her background might be of help to the employer. It is also a good idea to simply ask for a brief meeting to get feedback on the job seeker's portfolio or background and how suitable it is for the employer's industry.

Put These Techniques Into Practice

Using the five techniques in this article will make the job search more effective and give the job seeker a positive experience.

It is important to do all of them, not just one or two. If job seekers do a good job reaching the hiring manager but don't position their skills as benefits, they won't get an interview. Sending out a resume without a cover letter will rarely generate an inquiry, and failure to follow up with a phone call will lose many potential chances for an interview.

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