Question: What is the difference between prospecting for landing your dream job and sales prospecting for a dream client?

Answer: Not much.

A wise man (Shiv Khera) once said, “Winners don’t do different things; they just do things differently.” Be it job hunting or sales prospecting, if you do what everyone else is doing, your chances of winning are under 2%.

Both the successful job hunter and the ace salesperson know how to think outside the box. This article will help you build the skills required to prospect for your dream job. It will also show you how the best salespeople use the same skills to earn high six-figure salaries.

HOW IS SALES PROSPECTING SIMILAR TO JOB HUNTING?

For a start, you will face intense competition and many challenges while doing both. For another, both will take time – three months if you are lucky, while six months is more realistic. Only the winners will have enough patience and perseverance to succeed.

Your perseverance is often tested by how you follow up, and how often. For example, you might use reminder emails to streamline the process.

This article will discuss six sales prospecting methods that are common and critical to both sales and job prospecting:

  1. SWOT Analysis and Internal Audit
  2. Goal Setting
  3. Networking and Building Relations
  4. Building Your Value Proposition
  5. Outreach Strategies
  6. Following Up

Each of these prospecting methods has multiple subparts, and we will discuss each in detail. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and let’s dive in.

# 1. Internal Audit and SWOT Analysis

The first step in prospecting for a dream job or a dream client is to do a critical and honest internal review. As a job seeker, you need to start with your internal audit and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis .

Your strength and weaknesses are internal factors, while the opportunities and threats are external environmental factors. The objective of your SWOT is to build on your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses. Leverage the opportunities and brick wall the threats.

  • Strengths: These include your professional and educational qualifications, specializations, and the projects and campaigns you have completed.
  • Weaknesses: Do you need additional certifications to build your skillset? What are your bad habits that stunt your growth? Do you frequently miss deadlines? Do you need to improve your communication and team working skills?
  • Opportunities: What are the advancements in your industry that you can leverage? Is there a new technology in your industry that you need to learn? How can you best equip yourself to stay ahead of the competition?
  • Threats: These are external factors that keep you from advancing in your career. Are employers looking for new skills that you don’t have right now? Is there something in your workplace that keeps you from achieving your targets?

Source: Creately

Likewise, the salesperson prospecting for a dream client will also start with an internal audit. Their SWOT analysis will cover what they’re selling and who they’re selling to. Like you, they are also looking for areas for competitive advantages that they can use to land clients.

Build your Resume and Sales Pitch

Your resume will be the first impression you make upon a prospective employer, and it must be crafted professionally. Return to your internal audit and SWOT so that you can weave your strengths into your resume. Here are some tips for crafting a resume worthy of your dream job:

  • Your resume sells your skills. It talks about your past and current achievements and your future aspirations. A good resume title could go something like this: “Experienced SaaS Marketing Professional Looking for a Senior Role”.
  • Keep your resume to one page if you have under ten years of work experience, two pages if you’ve been working longer. Unless you’re applying for a job in the academe (where your published work matters a lot), you should aim for two pages or less.
  • The summary section should be robust enough to give the recruiter a snapshot of your personality, career, and achievements.

Pro tip: take key points from your resume and make a short (one minute) video that you can use as an additional sales pitch. Make sure you dress and speak professionally as you are selling both your skills and your confidence. If needed, have a video editor do it for you.

A good salesperson converts their SWOT into a sales pitch that highlights the benefits of their product, what it can solve, and how it benefits the client. You’re doing the same thing, except that your “product” is you, with all the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Applying Online and Cold Calling Doesn’t Work

Do you regularly scan job portals like Monster and Indeed looking for your dream job? Do you send out 15-20 applications every week and then follow up with tons of reminder emails? If yes, then stop wasting your time. Here are some cold hard facts about the job market today.

The average corporate vacancy on job portals attracts 300 applications resulting in 3-4 interviews. Your chances of scoring an interview are less than 2%. In addition, while only around 7% of applicants come from referrals, those referrals account for 40% of hires.

Source: jobvite.com

Applying on job portals and sending reminder emails is a weakness that you need to overcome. Smart salespeople don’t waste time with cold calling clients because they know it doesn’t usually work. Applying on job portals is the jobseekers’ equivalent of cold calling.

#2. Set Your Goals

The next step is to define your goals for the next 3-5 years. Break down your dream job into the company you want to work for, the role you want to play, and the skills you will need for that role. Cultivating these skills should be a part of your goals.

Never define goals in monetary terms. “I want to make $150,000 a year” is not a goal; it is the outcome of achieving your goal. Learn how to set SMART goals:

  • Specific: “I want to lead a team that develops new products at one of the following five companies.”
  • Measurable: “I will learn five new product development skills this year.”
  • Achievable: Your goals should be realistic. “I want to be a team leader in 2 years” is probably more realistic than “I want to be CEO before I’m 25”!
  • Relevant: If a goal does not contribute towards your values or your long-term goal, it is not relevant.
  • Time-Bound: “I want to land my dream job in the next 18 months”. Goals must be time-bound so that you can review them periodically.

SMART goals allow you to get really clear about exactly where you want to go and start building a path to get you there.

#3. Network and Build Relations

To land your dream job, not only do you have to focus on what you know but – even more importantly – on who you know. Building relations with the right people should be at the core of your job-hunting focus. When you build your network, aim for quality over quantity.

Remember the statistic that 40% of recruitment is done through internal referrals? You need to reach out to the right people to get referred to your dream job. Read on to learn exactly how the top 1% of salespeople build and leverage their professional network.

How do I do that?

For a start, avoid recruiters at the companies you are interested in. Hundreds of people reach out to them every week. At best, recruiters can refer your resume to higher-ups , but they don’t make hiring decisions. Target the decision-maker and the key people around them.

How do I find them?

LinkedIn is your friend at this stage of job scouting. You can use the LinkedIn search bar to find employees who are one level above the job you are looking for (potential decision-makers). Also, look for people at your level in that company (your prospective peers).

For example, let’s imagine you are looking for a Product Manager role at Uber in San Francisco. One level above would be Senior Product Manager. Enter this in the search bar:

Source: LinkedIn.com

This is the core group you need to network with. Follow them to receive notifications every time they post, and don’t be afraid to send a connection request. At this stage, do not ask them to refer you for a job! They don’t know you yet, so why would they go to bat for you?

The easiest way to spur a conversation and create awareness about yourself is to ask questions and comment on their posts. Locate them on other social media platforms and follow them, too. But remember: there is a fine line between following and stalking. Don’t cross that line.

To draw a dating parallel, you have identified the person of your dreams. Your only objective at this point is to ensure that they are aware of your existence. If you come on too strong, you will scare them away. Instead, focus on piquing their curiosity to know more about you.

#4. Build Your Value Proposition

A value proposition is a collection of the most compelling reasons a client should buy your product, or a prospective employer should hire you. It is not a list of your skills; rather, it is a summary of the problems you can solve and the value you bring to the table.

Source: Wikitopx.com

Make two versions of your value proposition. The first should not be more than 2-3 sentences, and this should be a part of the summary section of your resume. The second version should be about two paragraphs, and it will be a part of the text in your outreach email or cover letter.

If your unique value proposition succeeds in convincing the recruiter or hiring manager to give you an interview, you can expect them to ask you the same interview question again. Remember to be consistent with your answer and to build on it during the interview.

#5. Outreach Strategies

By now, you should have built a strong enough relationship with your prospects to ask for their email address. If you have developed a rapport with your prospective peers at the target company, be open about your interest in applying for a suitable position.

In most cases, they will give you the address of the decision-maker. When you reach out to the decision maker, drop a line in the form of a reminder email to your prospective peers, thank them and tell them you have reached out.

If you have developed really good rapport with your potential peers, you can even ask them to put in a good word for you. If not, there is an easy hack you can use to find the right person’s email.

Find anyone’s email address

Figuring out the corporate email address of your core group is easy once you have their names. Most companies use a universal convention to assign an email address. For example:

  • {firstname}.{lastname}@company.com
  • {f}{lastname}@company.com
  • {firstname}@company.com – common at smaller startups

Go to the contact page on the company website and check if the suffix is .com or .net, etc. Write down all the possible combinations for each person. Next, use a tool like VoilaNorbert to check each address for validity.

Crafting a great outreach email 

Your email should be addressed to the decision-maker, and it should be short and to the point. It should highlight who you are and what you do, why you are looking for a role in their company, and the two-paragraph value proposition you built earlier. Close by asking for a meeting.

If you play your cards right, you have a good chance of scoring an interview with the decision-maker.

#6. Follow Up

Some decision-makers will not respond to your first email even if they think you are qualified and a suitable candidate. Don’t take this personally – they are busy people! So if you don’t hear back in a week’s time, send out a follow-up email.

Make sure that your reminder email is polite, short, and informative. Make sure that you edit and proofread your email, too. Spelling and grammatical errors undermine your credibility. You can use a tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to help with your proofreading.

If you still don’t hear back, assume it’s a no on this occasion and move on.

BOTTOMLINE

Seeking your dream job or prospecting a dream client, both are selling activities. The salesperson is selling a product or service and a brand. As a job seeker, you are also selling a brand where you are the brand. Remember the golden rules of job prospecting:

  1. Start with a SWOT Analysis and internal audit
  2. Set SMART goals
  3. Focus on building relationships, not applying through jobs boards
  4. Understand, build, and communicate your value proposition
  5. Reach out to the appropriate people via email
  6. Don’t be afraid to send a polite follow-up

If you follow these six steps with patience and perseverance, you will land your dream job. Good luck!

Author Bio

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.

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