Are Infomercials The New Resumes?
By JOANNE RICHARD
You deserve a new career so just when is it going to happen? It’s not for lack of trying - you’ve put in the time polishing and peddling your resume, pumping up your online profiles, building professional relationships and applying for jobs, but no golden ticket yet.
It’s a jungle out there and no easy task catching a potential employer’s eye. But if your resume and networking aren’t winning interviews for your dream job, consider distinguishing yourself from the competition with an infomercial – and you’re the star!
It may sound outside the professional box and definitely beyond your comfort zone, but hear me out – actually, listen to career coach Jim Beqaj. Develop your own personal infomercial and attach it to your killer resume when sending out to prospective employers and you’ll substantially increase your chances of finding your True Fit – which is a job that suits your skills and personality, and for the employer the right person for the position.
“An infomercial educates the employer about who you are, the kind of people you work best, how you resolve conflict and what a perfect working day is for you. These are the questions employers need or want to ask, but often don’t,” says Beqaj, author of True Fit: How to Find the Right Job by Being You. From there employers can determine whether they need your talents and know who you really are, not who you want them to think you are.
Infomercials are the perfect complement to a resume. “I don’t believe that resumes or elevator pitches are very effective in relaying who you really are. I’ve hired hundreds of people and resumes told me very little. Resumes are like a trip itinerary of where you have been and you leave it to the employer to figure out who you are.” And elevator pitches are just that, a sales pitch.
Sound risky? Sure, it’s a gamble that an employer might not need you or want you but, on the other hand, “clients tell me preparing their infomercial is empowering and when they’re hired, they’re often told: ‘You’re exactly what we’re looking for,’” say the former investment firm president.
Don’t be shy about announcing who you are and what you like to do – that’s the only way snag a job where you’ll truly shine. Bottom line is you need to be comfortable presenting your infomercial in an interview. So like any presentation or speech you need to rehearse. Beqaj recommends making it real with the following steps to first get comfortable:
- Practice in front of your bathroom mirror and look yourself in the eye. Does it sound right? Do you believe it? Every speech coach recommends practicing in front of the mirror and out loud - it’s the best way to get it right.
- Create a video to share. Get dressed for your dream job and film a video on your phone. Have you ever heard yourself on tape? It’s weird for a lot of people but that is how you’re going to sound in an interview. You have to sound natural and it takes practice and honesty.
- Share the video. Send it to you friends and family to get their feedback. This is about getting honest, real responses from the people you trust the most. Share your video with the people who are going to challenge you if they think you’re faking it.
Be sure you infomercial answers the following questions:
- What should people pay you for that makes them money or saves them time? Think about the best work you’ve ever done and the best things anyone has ever said about you. “Make a list and back it up with examples, anecdotes, and achievements,” advises Beqaj.
- Who do I work best with? Make a list of the people you have worked with seamlessly and look what characteristics they share. Include bosses, clients and co-workers. Where were you most productive? Look for patterns to find the answer.
- How do I like to resolve conflict? Take into account both you and your potential employer. “Is your conflict-resolution style compatible with the conflict-resolution style of your potential employer? They have to be if you’re going to be happy.”
- What’s my perfect day? Just what were you doing - making calls, not making calls, working outside, crunching numbers, writing presentations, or just writing? Whatever it might be, if you could write your own job description that would utilize your skills fully, make you feel more productive and then be rewarded accordingly, that is your perfect day and you need to find a job that aligns with that to be happy. “This exercise will also help you identify what you’re really good at doing - which is also what you’re happiest doing,” he says.
Meanwhile, Beqaj says that finding your true fit will mean a more fulfilling job which positively affects the rest of your life. If you aren’t happy at work it’s likely you’ll be miserable in life. It’s a Yin and Yang process: “The opposite of your true fit is what you are not good at, people that you don’t work well with, the antichrist to your conflict resolution style and the worst day ever.”
For employers, a true fit is also essential because the company’s productivity, culture and teamwork are at stake. Financially speaking, unproductive employees hurt the bottom line. “A bad fit sucks the energy out of the company, the employee and everyone around the employee.”