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Thursday 11 March 2010

6 Steps for Securing Your Next Sales Job (when you’ve nearly given up)

Finding new jobs in sales can be a daunting task and many of us at some point have found ourselves feeling ‘stuck in rut’ at not being able to secure that next career move. Despite writing a high quality CV and exhausting all of our network contacts sometimes what we do just doesn’t work and seemingly for reasons that are not within our control.

So what can you do when you find yourself in this position?

The fact is we’re all have our own talents and where you fall down in the process of finding a role is likely to be different to the next person. For some the downfall comes right at the beginning of the process as the CV is poor, causing frustration particularly if they are actually very good at getting (and succeeding with) interviews! See here for hints on writing a CV and optimising your CV for the digital age so that your CV will be found amongst the thousands received every day by job boards and sales recruitment agencies.

For others they manage to get the interview yet can’t get past that first meeting. The key to success is to firstly work out where you’re going wrong in order to get the momentum going again. It may be that you don’t know how to interview; many jobseekers don’t begin with the end on mind, i.e. what job do they actually want before they start even applying for jobs – see our handy job search checklist.

Whilst there are clearly practical reasons why you may not be getting interviews or securing a role it is essential to take a look at what is causing this on a deeper level;

What sort of things are you saying to yourself (consciously or subconsciously) day to day? Are these they reinforcing negative perceptions you have about yourself and your ability to get a new role? The difficulty with suffering a lot of setbacks is that it can really knock your confidence and that can cause you to believe that you are no longer capable of getting jobs or aren’t desirable to employers. The knock-on effect of this is that you end up in a vicious cycle of negative results. Your attitude alone can often be responsible for a job search turning into a stressful and difficult task, often causing depression and despondency and can cause someone to adopt a defeatist attitude to their job hunt. This will undoubtedly have a big impact on all aspects of job hunting from making calls to employers to interviewing with them.

Steps you can take to ensure you are moving in the right direction

Talk to friends and family. Sometimes it is difficult for us to pin point ourselves where we are going wrong but for an outsider it can be plainly obvious. Get the opinions of others and see if they can’t give you some advice on where you might be going wrong.

It s often expected that we should all know how to job hunt instinctively, however in reality this isn’t the case and almost 75% of job seekers hit a rock on the path to finding a new job. When things are not working out try not to get defensive and unreceptive to suggestions. It’s important to keep an open mind and to not dismiss the suggestions you do receive. If you don’t take onboard advice, you are stuck with your own methods, which currently aren’t working.

Focus your efforts. Lack of focus on your CV can appear desperate because you are willing to seek roles purely because they are available. Define what it is you want to do and then focus your efforts on going for roles that will help you in decision to take this route. This may involve a little soul searching and will require you to set goals but it will be worth it in the long run.

Improve your ‘self-marketing’ skills. What is it about you and your skills that will add value to the company you are applying for a role with? Don’t be modest in interviews but make it relevant and talk about ALL of your accomplishments. You are the product- make sure the employer knows why they can’t do without you. What problems do they have that you can solve?

Use your network. If you have networked effectively in your previous role you should have a whole bunch of contacts that might be able to consider you for a position or may be able to pass your details onto someone else who is recruiting. Many who are job hunting resist networking in order to find a new job because they fear being viewed as needy. A good thing to remember is that networks work on different levels and a network is there to be used- the rest of the network is likely to call upon you at some time when they need something too.

Recruitment consultancies can also really assist you with your jobsearch. They will not only be able to match you with relevant jobs but should also be able to offer career advice at a time when you are likely to need it most.

Along with advice from expert consultants, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment offer a range of career tools available on their website

Do you have a strategic plan laid out for your job hunt? There are a variety of interim goals that you will have to achieve if you are to secure a great position; Calling network referrals, practising your interview technique, writing a CV and securing references. You need to hold yourself accountable to completing these goals and assign deadlines to when they need to be completed. Write a list of what you need to do, prioritise it, schedule it and put a time frame on it. Lack of planning can be attributed to many unsuccessful attempts at anything, not just job hunting.

Stop being hard on yourself. Instead of believing that you are incapable of achieving your next role, decide to turn over a new leaf and take a different approach. Take a proactive approach and become a problem solver. Act with urgency in working out where you’re going wrong.

You are capable of getting yourself the job you want- YOU are your only barrier. The more negative opinions you hold about yourself, the less likely you are succeed- it has been proven time and time again- so remain positive and don’t be deterred- sometimes things just take time and so long as you are learning from your mistakes, a failed job application is never really a fail in the long run.

There are a number of steps you can take to revive your job hunt:

1. Alter your state of mind. Get out and about and start exercising or going for walks. Schedule time to be with friends and family but most importantly don’t just stay cooped up in an office or at home for 8 hours a day.

2. Accomplish something, anything, that makes you feel good. Whether you need to clean out the car or finish a piece of art work you’re working on- do something that you’ve been meaning to do and finish it. The very fact that you have achieved this will empower you to feel more capable of achieving other things, such as finding a new job...

3. Create a structure and a plan for your week. Create goals and a schedule for the week and stick to it. Complete your difficult tasks first and reward yourself with a social activity such as going to the cinema. Your sense of wellbeing will improve as you reach these goals

4. Follow through. Act on suggestions you receive from advisors. Focus your CV on what you have decided to pursue, research hiring managers in your targeted industry and contact them directly. A call first, followed by your CV and then a follow up call tends to work best.

5. Up the amount of time you spend networking. Become smart as you network and ask everyone you contact if they can suggest names of others for you to call. Once you have improved your knowledge of the jobs market, offer your help to others too- what you put out there tends to come back to you.

6. Don’t expect a quick result. Successful people are aware of the hard graft that is involved in finding that dream job and they realise the challenges ahead. This puts them at a distinct advantage when embarking on the challenge of finding this role. Make yourself this person!

Don’t try to do everything at once- you are at risk of crashing and burning if you do. If you do crash and burn then you might not feel like doing anything for a month or two after, which puts you at an even bigger disadvantage when you do come to restart your job hunt. Keep it slow and steady and then you will always be moving towards your goals.

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