Guiding Clients to “Sell” Themselves – Tips from Career Professionals

In today’s world we can truly say that “To Sell is Human”. It is so easy for one to sell their favourite book, movie or television show but as soon as one is asked to sell themselves, they freeze. What is it about the word “sell” that sets people into a panic?

With the labour market being such a competitive market it is imperative that our clients face this phobia and learn the art of being proud of their accomplishments and success stories and become comfortable sharing them with others.

CPC member, Lee-Anne Lefebvre led this month’s tele-networking discussion on guiding clients to “sell” themselves. CPC Members can click this link to listen to the full session recording.

Here are our Top Tele-Networking Takeaways:

  • Focus on what clients CAN do. Tough competition in the job market means that all of us must be skilled at selling ourselves. To build self-esteem and confidence, focus on what a client CAN do, not what they can’t do.
  • Ask clients the right questions. Asking the client the right questions helps to draw out their outstanding accomplishments and abilities – things they previously may not have recognized as significant and valuable. For example, try asking clients what would happen if they didn’t do their job, then flip the results backwards and point out the strengths/skills and positive impacts demonstrated by the work they perform.
  • Use an essential skills checklist to draw out skills. Ask the client what the special hiring needs of a job are (as per the job description), and then ask them to articulate how they are qualified to fill those needs.
  • Help your client to determine one or more key words to describe themselves. Ask the client to create a list of single words that describe their unique skills/value. From that list, have them select ONE word that best represents them. It is useful to have this word front-of-mind as it will undoubtedly come up in an interview.
  • Create solid job search collateral. With strategically created job search documents in hand, client motivation is boosted. Clients actually see their value and understand how to communicate it.
  • Use visualization techniques. If a client is losing motivation after a period of time, guide them towards re-focusing on their goal and visualizing having actually achieved that goal.
  • Documenting job search activities is helpful. It permits clients to set milestones, and having successfully achieved each milestone, they can enjoy celebrating those.
  • Counsel clients to avoid memorizing their stories. In every interview, stories must be told in a genuine way, focusing on the specific needs of that employer. Be straightforward with clients, telling them that they need to sound genuine, natural, and more ‘in-the-moment’ (as opposed to over-practiced and robotic). Have clients practice telling their stories in a variety of ways. If clients are used to telling their stories using the SAR formula (Situation, Action, Result), coach them to eliminate the use of the actual words – situation, action, result- from their interview responses so that they do not come across as over-practiced.
  • Give the client external opportunities to practice. One way is to set up external mock interviews – so they become comfortable in delivering their story outside of the career coaching environment.
  • Arrange informational interviews, job shadowing, and work trials. These help clients explore a variety of options for employment within a single employer’s operation. Learning more about positions helps clients bolster confidence, knowledge, and comfort levels.
  • Hold “Get-Job-Ready” events in advance of career fairs. Career fairs, tradeshows, and industry association chapter meetings are great opportunities for networking. “Get-Job-Ready” events prepare clients by providing the skills/tools they need to get the most out of the fair.
  • Ensure clients have appropriate networking business cards to hand out at job-related events. Your client can use both sides of the card – the front for contact information (a professional e-mail address, phone number, LinkedIn URL) while the back of the card displays a synopsis of core skills. Including a QR code on the card can direct interested parties to a personal website.
  • Put together a Job Search Club. These gatherings of job seekers allow people to compare notes, talk about their search activities, and any opportunities they’ve discovered. Such clubs have the additional benefit of creating another network for clients. Job Clubs hold clients accountable for their job search actions and keeps their momentum high.
  • Think about developing a Job Retention Club. A Job Retention Club also helps keep motivation in place by addressing new-employee concerns before they become larger issues, both for the client and the employer.

CPC Tele-networking sessions are facilitated phone discussions between members of Career Professionals of Canada. Each session is delivered in a teleconference format using a bridge telephone line. If you have a phone, you have everything that you need to join us. CPC members can log-in to access all our session recordings at their convenience. Not a member? Learn more about the CPC Tele-Networking Program.

Cathy Milton is Advisory Board Member and active volunteer with Career Professionals of Canada, providing leadership as CPC’s News Team Lead and Managing Editor.

This entry was posted in Adult Career Changes.