Selling Yourself Long – The Life Ladder

Selling Yourself Long – The Life Ladder

You’re down here, and you want to be up there. You’re starting your long climb up the Life Ladder.

Character is the most effective means of persuasion. --- Aristotle

If you cant or wont market yourself, who will?

Yes, we’re talking about self-marketing. Because we all sell ourselves, every time we write, or open our mouth.

We sell ourselves short or we sell ourselves long, it’s always one way or the other.

Getting into the school you want, getting the job you want, getting the mate you want. Eerily, they have so much in common.

Why? Because you can raise your odds of getting where you want to be in life. You can boost your game.

You either lower or increase your chances of seized opportunities, to a great extent— just by how you present yourself.

Résumés, applications, and cover letters, these are your personal agents. Your reps. Your alter egos. Your presentations.

Outsiders don’t know you. So how do you present yourself well to outsiders?

This isn’t about dinging friends, or catching a date on Facebook. We’re talking about moving up. About engaging with people you need— often, they are people who are where you want to be one day.

You have skills that schools or employers want. But those skills, if omitted or poorly presented, won’t get you an acceptance or a job. Do it wrong, and they can even work against you.

Pointers on successful self image attributes.

Do you have qualities a college would value, but don’t present them well? The object is always this— to connect you to an opportunity.

Good résumés, applications, and cover letters broad-cast your abilities. They tell schools and employers how your qualifications match responsibilities.

If these paper preliminaries are constructed well, you seem prepared and committed. You suddenly have a better chance.

And modern technology gives you a huge edge when preparing your résumés and cover letters. It also brings a price. Schools and employers expect more from you now.

Visit the counselors at your school, career center, or State employment office. They have resources and advice to help you choose an occupation; write résumés, cover letters, and applications; and develop a job searching strategy.

The availability of personal computers and laser printers has raised expectations of the quality of your résumés and cover letters. Electronic mail, Internet postings, and software that “reads” résumés help schools and businesses sort and track hundreds of résumés.

At the same time, technology has also given résumé writers like you more flexibility; page limits and formatting standards are no longer as rigid as they were.

“The only rule is that there are no rules,” says Frank Fox, executive director of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers. “Résumés should be error free—no typos or spelling mistakes—but beyond that, use any format that conveys then information well.”

Good résumés match your abilities to school or job demands. Highlight your strengths and accomplishments.

Start working on your résumé by collecting and reviewing information about yourself: Previous positions, job duties, volunteer work, skills, accomplishments, education, grades, and activities. These are the raw materials of your résumé. This is also a good time to review your career goals and to think about which past jobs you have liked, and why.

A woman looking over her resume one last time before turning it in.

Organize your personal information. Contact information includes your name; permanent and college campus addresses, if they are different; phone number; and e-mail ad- dress, if you have one. Place your full legal name at the top of your résumé and your contact information underneath it.

This information should be easy to see; reviewers who can’t find your phone number can’t call you for an interview. Also, make sure the outgoing message on your answering machine sounds professional. If you list an e-mail address, remember to check your inbox regularly.

Don’t forget the name and location of the organizations you have worked for, years you worked there, title of your job, a few of the duties you performed, and results you achieved. Also, describe relevant volunteer activities, internships, and school projects, especially if you have little paid experience.

Do you have special skills? If you have specific computer, foreign language, typing, or other technical skills, consider highlighting them by giving them their own category—even if they don’t relate directly to the occupation you’re pursuing.

Give your very best references. Think hard. Who will vouch for you, someone of authority, when you were at your best? (Hint— not your best friend, or your dog). Focus only on the areas most desired by the school or company you are applying for.

Two women in an job interview.

And get the highest-ranked references possible. Don’t be shy in asking. They can only say no, they can’t eat you. And keep trying when you are rejected; until you have the best references you can score.

A reference sheet lists the name, title, office address, and phone number of three to five people who know your abilities. Before offering them as references, of course, make sure these people have agreed to recommend you. At the top of the sheet, type your name and contact information, repeating the format you used in your résumé.

So, market yourself well. Be consistent, solid in every way. You are your only asset.

When you interview, always give a great first impression. Be calm and steady. Make eye contact, but not to a creepy extent.

Be prepared to answer questions, and rehearse for interviews. Uncertainty undermines you, always.

Dress seriously. Good grooming and clean austere clothes can’t hold you back. Making a bizarre dress or hair statement might be fun, but it works against you.

Keep your chin up, and market yourself like you intend to climb to the very top of the Life Ladder.

You have only yourself. Use the very best tools you have.

Get that degree and exploit every opportunity. Always sell yourself long!

Grad2B Note – the Internet is packed with résumé writing advice, both good and bad. Some established sites are:

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