Communication ~ Oversell

I need to change focus for a moment even though we are still in the communication area…I just was talking with a client about “oversell” and how in the long run it can hurt you. How much information is enough and how much is too much? Very good questions and I will try to shed some light on them today.

Okay…let’s look at interviews (and job search in general) this way…You are the product…and you are the salesperson! You are required to sell yourself to the employer based on what their needs are…not all the wonderful things you have accomplished over a lifetime. Yes, I know that you are very proud of those accomplishments and you should be but if they aren’t relevant to what the employer needs, they won’t make an impression.

I come up against this over and over when I am either writing a resume or teaching someone to write a resume and I want to try to stick to one page. We as proud and accomplished people want to put everything, including the kitchen sink, into our resume but if I am not going to be working with customers because I am applying for a research job in a back office…it won’t help me to put all my customer service work on my resume. Of course I might touch on it if my ultimate goal was to get out of the back office and work with the clients but if I keep talking about customers and should be talking about research I am not helping myself. I can successfully cover both but they would be for different resumes. I work with customers everyday, all day and often into the night so truly I could create a great resume based on customer service and communication skills. I could write a second resume simply on research and go into  the times that I am or was writing curriculum and needed to research for statistics, quotes, resources, and/or information and I could also talk about when I was a paralegal student and had to do some of the hardest research ever on case law. Two separate resumes for one person. I could also have another resume based on my administrative type work in an office environment; but if I tried to put all of this information into one resume, or discuss all of it at an interview I would overwhelm the interviewer with irrelevant information.

First and foremost…get and read the job description for the position. If you can’t get a job description from the company there are websites that you can go to and get the information you need. I cover that information in my Job Search strategy 1 workshop/coaching session while teaching you how to break the information into categories that best suit your traits. Breaking your strengths and skills into categories is critical in being able to sell yourself to the employer without “overselling” or “underselling”. Believe it or not…there is a “just right” in communicating your strengths and it is critical that you find it based on what the employer needs.

What can you do to make sure you sell yourself?

  • Read the job description
  • Write down all of your previous experience (both paid and unpaid)
  • Make a list of your major duties you have done
  • For each duty, make a list of skills you used to complete those duties
  • Make a list of duties the new employer/job will require
  • Again for each duty write a list of primary skills that will be needed
  • Match your duties and skills to what the employer needs
  • Break the job description down into relevant categories
  • Fit your skill and abilities into those categories
  • Write your resume accordingly and keep it on one page!

What can you do for the interview portion to ensure you don’t oversell?

  • Reread the job description and look over the new resume you have written
  • Write out a 45 second to 1 minute speech about why you fit the job description
  • Remember to include some “soft” skill in that speech (dependable, flexible, honest, hard-working, etc.)
  • Practice the speech out-loud so you can hear how it sounds
  • Make sure you are consistently sticking to the key points the employer is seeking
  • Think of some stories/examples of how you have handled situations in the past that you can use to illustrate certain points, skills, or strengths
  • Practice, practice, practice…out-loud so you are comfortable and confident as you communicate your skills

Keep in mind…it is always about the employer, the job, the job description, and the company that you want to work for, it is only a little bit about you. The company is only interested in what you can do for them in relation to the job you are attempting to get; so if you don’t need to know anything about environmental science for the job, but you do need to know a certain amount about human behavior, don’t go into detail about the degree you just received in environmental science…instead talk about the elective classes you took in sociology or psychology and how much you learned and are looking forward to utilizing that knowledge in this exciting new job.

Here is to you and your great strengths and abilities…see you next time and if you have questions or comments please let me know and I will let you know when the new e-book on “Interviewing and how to answer the tough interview questions” is complete and ready for  purchase.

The e-book “Propelled to Greatness ~ Motivate ~ The Difference Between Good and Great” is done and for sale at my website and will be sent in PDF format when purchased.

5 Responses to Communication ~ Oversell

Leave a Reply

Click here for free resume samples. Remember to put the word "samples" in the information box Contact us

Non-verbal communication is still communication
You have made it to the interview and now you need to make a great impression. What are your nervous habits? Do you really sit as straight as you think you do? Are you making eye contact? Watching the clock? Read more to ensure you are communicating what you want... Career Blog

Colleague Statement
“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
Read More