Interviewing for a new sales job is a competition. To be in the lead, you have to ask yourself: What can I do to separate myself from the pack? Chances are, most applicants will be doing the fundamentals – emphasizing their relevant industry and product experiences; quantifying sales successes; and highlighting their career advancement. But when you’re competing for a top job, you have to do what most candidates aren’t. Here are three interview essentials you should always take time to do when applying for a job:
1. Include a brief note/cover letter
Your interview starts when you submit your resume for the job. But how do you separate yourself from everyone else? The answer isn’t using colored paper or fancy graphics. Instead, include a very brief cover letter, or email, directed to the hiring manager. This used to be common practice when using printed resumes, but it’s not anymore. If you take the time to do it, you’ll have an advantage over the competition.
According to Monster.com, 86 percent of executives polled said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. In your letter, be short and to the point (one paragraph). Make it personal; explain why you are interested in this particular role and why it’s a good fit for you. Why are YOU the right representative for the position? Be specific and reference the information obtained while doing your homework.
2. Do your homework
Make sure you’ve researched the business you are interviewing — their industry, their products or solutions, their competition and their target market. Go beyond the first few pages of the company’s website; explore their blog, research news articles, and check out their social media. Be well-prepared with talking points and detailed questions.
In addition, research the person who’s conducting the interview. You should know everything about that person — their role/responsibility, how long they have been with the company, their career trajectory, etc. The more prepared you are, the better the interview will be. You might be surprised by how few candidates do more than just cursory preparation.
3. Follow up with a thank you letter/email
Make sure you send a ‘thank you’ to everyone in the interview process (the initial recruiter, the interviewer(s), the coordinator, etc.) within the first day or two after the interview. Fewer than 25% of interviewees send a thank you after a job interview.
When you write to your interviewer, make sure you include, again, why you are the right person for the job. Be assertive and offer time to meet again to answer any additional questions or address concerns.
If you want the job, go above and beyond what every other candidate is doing. This will separate you from the other candidates and give you a higher likelihood of success of getting hired!
Having trouble landing the job you want? Check out 6 Tips for Salespeople Having a Hard Time Getting Hired