A key concept in sales is looking at features and benefits and one of the most important things any salesperson will tell you is to focus on the benefits and not the features. It is the benefits that sell, not the features.
When job-hunting your features are your academics, work and voluntary experience, non academic achievements and interpersonal skills but why will this make you successful in the role you are applying to? What are the benefits of these strengths and skills to your future employer?
The simplest way to develop a feature into a benefit is through the phrase “which means that….”
So for example a candidate applying to a Sales Role may say, “I have worked in retail for 3 years and faced customer complaints from all ages and types of people which means that I will be able to communicate effectively with a variety of customers and deal with unhappy customers, ensuring that I win new clients and retain existing ones.”
Likewise, sales is all about making sure that your product or service offering has a Unique Selling Point (USP), something that distinguishes you from the competition. The same is true of interviewing for Graduate jobs. It is a competitive market with over 300,000 new graduates each year, so employers are looking for you to distinguish yourself from the competition and stand out from the crowd.
Finally, as with a sales pitch don’t be afraid to ‘close’ at the end of an interview with some effective questioning. Ray Willbern, a Senior Consultant at Discovery Graduates thinks one of the most effective questions to ask is “do you have any reservations about me?”
He adds “this question allows the candidate to try and overcome any objections or negatives there may be at the interview stage as opposed to receiving a rejection a few days later.” He continues “sometimes it may just be a misunderstanding or small negative that at least the candidate can try and turn to a positive during the interview.”