The following post is contributed by Nathalie Sanderson.
Whether you’re in college, changing careers, sending out resumes, or preparing for an interview, finding a job in a tough economy can be quite a challenge. When times are tough, companies stop recruiting, interviewers are flooded with a deluge of resumes, and competition for jobs gets fierce But the truth is that in any economy – there are always companies looking to hire new employees and grow. What can you do to stand out and get hired when most companies are buckling down and jobs are scarce?
Think Like An Entrepreneur
The biggest challenge to overcome when seeking a job is to change your mindset from that of mere job seeker to that of an entrepreneur. Perhaps you’re asking yourself – what’s the difference?
Good question. The difference is that a job seeker is someone who wants a job – but a job seeker rarely thinks about their skills in terms of intrinsic value to the company. On the other hand – an entrepreneur always knows exactly what they’re offering to their customer – a product/service that someone is willing to pay money for. They know that – in order to be successful – they need to accomplish two things:
1) Have a great product or service
2) Market it to the right customer
To find a job in a tough economy, the successful job seeker needs to adopt this basic entrepreneurial mindset and apply it to the job hunt.
What Value Do You Provide An Employer?
An entrepreneur knows that nothing is handed to him/her. When someone starts a business, their company either provides a useful product or service, or the company fails. While seeking employment is generally less competitive than starting a business – in a tough economy – applying the same attitude that builds successful companies can help you land a job.
What value do you provide to an employer? Hint: no matter how tough the economy is, employers always want employees who can bring in sales and make them money. No matter what profession you’re in, the ability to network and bring in new customers and clients is the lifeblood of any business – even if demand for your skill set has been throttled by a weak economy.
Marketing Yourself To Your Potential Employer
When an entrepreneur markets their product, they understand inherently that the customer wants to know “What’s in it for me”. The customer doesn’t care if an entrepreneur went to business school or was named “Most promising entrepreneur of the year” – if there’s a store down the road offering the same product at a lower price, the customer is going there. If a store offers the best product in the country, the customer is probably going there as well if the price fits their needs.
On the other hand, job seekers often focus too much on themselves, and not enough on the employer. For example, here’s a common job interview scenario:
Interviewer: “Tell me about your strengths”
Job seeker: “I’m efficient, personable, and I’m good at sales”
This is an example of a job seeker thinking about themselves instead of marketing to the needs of the employer. Why does the employer care that you say you’re efficient, personable, and good at sales? Does the fact that you’re personable mesh well with what you know about the company’s culture? How does that efficiency translate to productivity in your job? Can you show examples of how you’ve made sales for a previous employer, or better yet – how you could boost sales for your current employer? What sets you apart from the other 50 job applicants who are “efficient”, “personable”, and good at sales”? These are the questions that every employer asks themselves, and these are the questions that need to be answered by the job seeker.
Seeing the job hunt through the eyes of an entrepreneur can’t guarantee that you’ll immediately find a job, but it can guarantee that you’ll start asking yourself the right questions and presenting yourself in a way that’s most attractive to employers. Remember – even in the worst economies – companies are still looking to add value to their business – your job is to make sure they see you as that value.
Nat is a marketing consultant, business writer, and moderator at the HostingAffiliate.com forums.
Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.