Picture this: we’ve got a hotel ballroom full of salespeople attending some sort of regional industry event. Let’s say they’re all software salespeople. And because it’s a regional meeting, it’s safe to assume most (if not all) of these people are based in one geographic area.
Now – suppose we have a job opening for a Regional Sales Manager responsible for moving B2B Procurement/Marketplace software. This might be a good place to find that candidate.
In one sense, everyone in the room is essentially the same. For example, they’re all selling software, they’re located in the same market, and their job responsibilities are very similar.
It’s conceivable, therefore, that every single person here could qualify (on paper) for the job.
What’s going to make one of them stand out from all the rest?
What’s going to make the difference – and win the job offer?
Obviously, this is an exaggeration. Not everybody in the room is going to qualify. But I think you get my point.
The person who knows how to differentiate himself or herself from the sea of candidates who, on the surface, look very similar, is the one who will have a better chance at success.
It starts with your resume.
When 200 people submit their resumes for that Regional Sales Manager position, on some level, they’re obviously going to look very similar. So we have 200 resumes that all resemble one another, yet only a handful are going to receive an invitation to interview.
What is it about those six resumes that’s going to make the difference? Why these and not the others?
Likewise, when those six people come in to meet with senior management, it’s safe to assume there will be parallels between their employment experiences. What’s going to make one stand out over the others?
What about you? What do you do? Business Development…Marketing…Sales…Financial Analysis…Systems Engineering…Logistics Management?
Whatever it is, you’ve got to know how to separate yourself from the competition. You need to understand specifically what makes you unique, and how to convey that message to the hiring manger.
Of course other factors have an impact once you get to the interview stage. Performance under pressure, preparation – other issues are at play. But at the core, differentiation is key. Your chances of making it to the interview aren’t good if you haven’t done a good job conveying your uniqueness in your resume.
Take the time to identify what’s distinctive about you – then encapsulate it into a succinct branding statement. That’s the basis for everything else you’ll do to market yourself.