There are some people, (perhaps you are one of them yourself) who when applying for employment take a very passive approach in marketing themselves as the most desirable candidate. They have a belief it would seem that reasons if and when an employer hires them, only then will they demonstrate how good they are. Up until that point, it would be a lot of wasted effort trying to be the best candidate because they don’t know who they are up against. “Take a chance and hire me and you won’t be disappointed”, seems to be their message.
Now if you are one who holds this kind of outlook, I would like to give you something to think about with a goal of changing your view. In perhaps changing your view, you might then change your approach, and your new actions may thusly change the results you experience.
So I need some kind of analogy that the typical reader, (in this case you) can easily visualize; something that you see the logic in that best illustrates my point. Hmmm…..got it!
Okay so you’re at the supermarket and you find yourself in the fruits and vegetables area. You’re standing in front of the apples we’ll suppose and you’ve made up your mind to purchase a few. Now apples works nicely because not all apples are the same variety and each variety has its own characteristics making some best for pies, others better for snacking on as they are, and some are just that much sweeter or tart.
But there’s more. Even once you look the assortment of varieties over and narrow what you want down to a particular variety, you aren’t likely to just put the first four you touch into your cart and move on. Having done it myself and watched others do it, you my dear reader are in all probability just like all the other shoppers. You give them a visual inspection, you test the firmness, look for bruising or cuts, assess the overall size and shape of the fruit, and based on whatever you’re looking for, you finally decide.
Somehow amongst all those 50 apples of the exact same variety, you selected the 4 which lined up with your personal preferences. Those preferences of yours are your most desired qualities in an apple on that occasion, and you passed up some for the ones you walked away with.
Now the store itself knows how people shop and they too have watched the behaviours of their customers. They regularly have employees sorting through the apples if you think about it. They too are making those apples as appealing as they can for you the buyer. They will shine them up, remove ones they deem unappealing to the eye, turn the apples so they show their best side to the customers, and they position the overhead lights to best show the gleam of the products. Nothing is left to chance and of course any apple deemed to be bruised or damaged in some way is removed, put on a cart and either discounted for quick sale or removed completely from the store floor.
In this analogy, you the shopper are the employer making your selection. The employee putting their best out there is you looking as attractive as you can.
If you agree that the food stores are going through this process in marketing their products to the best of their abilities, then it follows that I think you should also agree that you too should be marketing yourself to be the one to pick when applying for work.
When you pick out your wardrobe in advance of the interview instead of just throwing something on the morning of for example, you are polishing up your outward appearance to be at your best. When you research the job and the company as well as those who work where you also want to be employed, your arming yourself with knowledge and that knowledge you hope will appeal to the interviewer when you share what you did to prepare.
But you might argue, you buy your produce down at the farmers market where the apples aren’t polished, they aren’t stacked in nice pyramids, and they aren’t even washed or polished. What then? I would ask you then if when standing at that vendors stall you still don’t cast a critical eye over the apples you are considering purchasing. Of course you do. You do the same when choosing the head of cauliflower, picking the pint of berries that appears to be the best.
Employers are the same and act in the same way. They advertise exactly what they are looking for in the job postings. They cast critical eyes over the applications they receive to determine who on paper best meets what they want. They meet with those they are considering selecting to confirm what they want to know and in the end they make their selection based on who comes off as the most desirable.
Your chances go up significantly if you put in the required effort to market yourself to meeting the needs of the organizations you wish to work for. It may sound like a lot of time and effort to adapt to the needs of each employer but actually this approach is the one which will result in being hired sooner rather than later.
So are you a Granny Smith or Delicious?