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Selling Your Abilities, Not Just Yourself

July 28, 2010

Carl Diehl, co-owner and franchise director of an exercise company based in San Francisco, provides an insightful article on how a job search candidate can really sell him or herself to an employer through the cover letter and interview process.

Perhaps you’ve submitted hundreds of job applications, or have been a candidate in several job interviews, and have not had the type of response you have been hoping for.  It is not unusual to be a recent college grad and not to have landed a job come July.  Still, you might want to take the time now to do an inventory on how you have been going about the process.  In your job application materials (i.e., your resumes and cover letters), have you really been trying to show the employer how you would fill the needs of that specific employer and of that specific position, or have you instead been trying to “sell yourself.”Sometimes job applicants get into the mold of trying to get out applications for as many job openings as they can, and they fail to take the time to understand and respond to what the employers are really looking for.   If you feel like that you’ve started to fall into this habit, you might want to step back for a moment and take the time to not just produce the same generic cover letter that has been panned off a Career Center handout or a “how to get hired” website and tweaked, but instead really try to address the needs of the employer.  Also, when showing your fit, don’t just perform a brain dump of your skills, but provide examples of those abilities.  Anyone can say that they are diligent, hardworking, flexible, creative, and possess an ability to work well “both individually and in a team,” but are you able to provide specific examples demonstrating those traits.

As always, the advisors within the Career Center are also more than happy to assist you by critiquing your job search materials and making sure that you are addressing the needs of the organizations to which you are applying.  Learn more through the various resources on our website at http://www.american.edu/careercenter or by scheduling an appointment with your advisor.

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