How to Make Yourself Irresistible to Potential Employers
Think about the last purchase you made, large or small. Why did you buy the item? Because the benefits were greater than the costs. Simple law of economics. When the benefits outweigh the costs, we buy. In reality, it's not quite that simple because we are actually making the decision based upon the perceived benefits being greater than the perceived costs. Yet it's only when we have a positive benefit/cost comparison that we make our buying decision.
The same law of benefits versus costs applies to each stage of the employment process. You must convince the employer that your perceived or potential benefits will be greater than your perceived or potential costs. This applies not only to the hiring decision, but also whether or not you even get the initial interview. If I, as a hiring manager, do not see a benefit in meeting with you (as a potential solution for an immediate or future need) that is greater than the cost in meeting with you (giving up a half-hour or hour of my time that could be used in other activities), you will not get the interview. If, however, I see a positive benefit/cost ratio, you will get the interview. While you have little control over my perceived costs in interviewing (which relate to the value of my time in other areas of my work), you have almost absolute control over the perceived value of the benefits of a potential interview.
Therefore, you need to think in terms of benefits. Not yours. Not how much money you want to make. Not what a cushy job it would be for you. That has zero effect on me. If you are going to sell me on interviewing you, I need to understand how you will benefit me and my company.
To make yourself irresistible, you need to focus on how you can benefit my company. How you can increase our profits. How you can further develop our product line. How you can increase the efficiency of our existing systems. How you can help our business grow. How you can help our department prosper. How you can make me look good as a manager.
If you want to be doubly effective, don't just concentrate on the positive elements. Focus also on selling the fear of loss, or what is commonly known as "selling the FUD Factor."
FUD? Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. IBM has made billions selling the FUD Factor. How? By positioning IBM as the "safe" decision. Customers would pass up better systems to buy IBM because "no one ever lost their job for buying IBM" (or so it was said).
FUD is used in the employment field by understanding that what an employer is "buying" is not only an increase in the potential positives, but is also seeking a reduction of the potential negatives. You may be the answer to their project backlog that is growing larger every day. You may be the person that can make sense of the quarry of PCs that are collecting dust in the corner. You may be the "gopher" that can do the grunt work so that the manager is free for higher level work.
Many students take the attitude that I, as the Hiring Manager, should somehow magically decide what their value is and where they should fit in the work world. As I've said before, that's not my job. That's your job. Don't expect me to figure out what your role in life will be. You know you far better than I, so don't expect me to know and understand what your greatest value is over the course of a thirty minute meeting.
Interviewing is one of the most difficult activities to conduct in the work world. From either side of the desk. You have a limited time during which to convey value and benefit. And I have a limited time during which to evaluate that potential value and benefit. If you do your job as the transmitter, you will make my job much easier as the receiver.
So evaluate your potential not only for increasing positives, but also for decreasing negatives. Not just what I would gain in hiring you, but also what I stand to lose in not hiring you. That is your benefit. And, of course, you are willing to do all these wonderful things that you are capable of doing while working for peanuts, right? So plug the variables into your scientific calculator and massage them until the results show a favorable benefit/cost ratio.
Now that you know your value and benefit, you have got to sell others on that fact. And that is what will make you truly irresistible.
Remember, there is someone out there looking to buy what you have to sell. But you have to find them. Then you have to sell you. It's your responsibility to make the connection and make it work.