Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Selling Techniques For Graduates

This was the article I wrote for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and was published on the 14th of April 2013.

A few days ago, my mom asked me to drop her off at PICC to attend their university’s commencement exercise. As I approached the venue, I could not help but remember my own experience after graduation.

According to the latest statistics by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), there are about 500,000 graduates annually. However, only a handful will gain meaningful employment – applicants who were accepted on the jobs they want. Other applicants will just settle for any job offer that comes their way.

Sadly, this happens every year. This is why our unemployment and underemployment rates remain high. More than a skills mismatch, the issue lies in how fresh graduates can market themselves effectively to companies.

Companies need fresh graduates. These new batch of employees bring in new ideas to any organization and organizations also need fresh graduates to mentor and take over once the company grows and expands.

In most cases, however, a fresh graduate blows his or her chances during the initial interview. Fear and lack of self-confidence take over and the fresh graduate becomes tongue-tied, not being able to communicate ideas clearly, concretely and concisely.

A human resource personnel calls an applicant for an interview because he/she sees the applicant as suitable for the position. It is already one foot in the door.

Fresh graduates must do well to understand that they are selling a product and a service. The product they are selling is themselves. The service they are offering their skills and talents. Selling and marketing is part of any job-hunting process.

Here are some of the selling techniques that can be utilized by fresh graduates to help them get the job they want.

·         Know the product/service you are offering. Any good salesman will tell you that the key to closing sales is by knowing the product or service they are offering. A salesman can immediately identify his customers and state how his product or service can help solve the problems of his customer.

Fresh graduates must know realize how their skills, talents and capacities can help companies. They must be able to tell their interviewers how they can contribute to their organization.

·         Be specific with the target market. By knowing who your customers are, you can adjust your sales pitch accordingly. Developing rapport and relationship would be much easier since you are speaking the same language.

Fresh graduates are pressured to apply to many companies in different industries. However, this only decreases their chances of finding gainful employment. What happens is that, a fresh graduate accepts the first job offer that comes along.

Apply to a specific industry and tailor-fit the resume to make it more relatable to the interviewer. This shows that the fresh graduate knows what he/she is talking about. The interviewer will be impressed with the applicant’s knowledge of the industry and will stand-out from the rest of the applicants.

·         Communicate what you are offering very clearly. Good sales men know how to communicate well. They can describe how their products or services will be able to help the customer. The words they use are direct to the point.

Interviewing fresh graduates in the past, I can say that 90% of them are not sure about the words they are using. In most instances, fresh graduates are sending mixed messages.

This normally happens when there are so many ideas waiting to be said. The best thing that a fresh graduate can do is to focus on each idea one at a time. See if it would fit the general theme of his or her message. If it would only send confusing signals, drop it.

The key to effective communication is by keeping it simple. Avoid using highfalutin words that only confuse the audience without adding much to the essence of the conversation.

Other salesmanship techniques a fresh graduate must are dressing up properly and coming on time.

As a former jobseeker, I know that applying for a job and being getting interviewed is a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience. The best thing an applicant can do is to prepare for the interview and always trust in himself and his capabilities.