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Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills
Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills

Section 13
Applicants' Response Strategies

Question 13 | Test | Table of Contents |
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

In the last section, we discussed how your client can prove to a potential employer that they are the best candidate for the job with the 3 principles of interview selling points.

In this section we will discuss how your client can take their selling points and make them into facts so their potential employers can see that they can do the job.

Marisa, who was mentioned in the last section, had a list of selling points that she had prepared for her potential employers. I stated to her, "Since your resume and cover letter are the first two things potential employers see it is important that your selling points are clear on these two documents." Marisa then asked me, "How do I make my selling points not long winded anecdotes but something that can fit on my resume?"

Marisa and I then went over four ways she can make her selling points into facts she can incorporate into her resume and then in her interview.

1. Offer Proof of Proficiency - "I was ranked"
Offering proof of proficiency means including facts that show you have met certain measurements established for success. Examples of this would be ‘in my previous job, I was rated ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ in my performance evaluations for team work’ or ‘I have a degree in accounting’.

2. Provide a List - "Excellent at detailed work"
Previous tracks discussed using key words based on terminology used in the employment ads. It may be a good idea for your client to include a list of skills that will be an asset to the job in his or her resume. Examples of this would be ‘I can read, write, and speak fluently in English, Spanish, and French’ or ‘I’m proficient in the entire Microsoft Office Professional Suite, plus Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Flash’. For these kinds of facts, your client may need to take a test, demonstrate any of the skills, or provide a reference who can verify each skill.

3. Use Numbers or Percentages – "4 years experience"
Using numbers or percentages may be helpful for your client to include because specific numbers or percentages can give potential employers concrete figures to see your client’s growth and the growth of the company he or she worked for because of your client’s involvement. Examples of this would be ‘I have 4 years’ experience in marketing and I supervised a staff of nine people during that time’ or ‘I nearly doubled the number of positive responses within one year’.

I stated to Marisa, "If you aren’t able to gather the data to get an exact number or percentage, you can use your instincts to decide if it is appropriate to make estimations and say things like ‘almost’, ‘approximately’, ‘nearly’, and ‘more than’ to show it is an estimation."

4. Use Comparisons- "top 10% of my class"
Your client may want to compare himself or herself to others or the company he or she worked for to other companies in the same field in cases where your client has excelled above others. Examples of this would be ‘I graduated in the top 10% of my class’ or ‘Our sales team was #1 or #2 every month for 32 months’.

I stated to Marisa, "It is important to note that your facts that include numbers, percentages, or comparisons should include some sort of time frame to give your potential employers some reference. For example, increasing sales by 50% in 6 months is impressive while doing it in 6 years is far less impressive."

I have found that often clients, like Marisa, are unsure how to add their selling points so the interviewer or potential employer can see them. I explain to my clients that their facts will come across differently in their resumes, any cold calls they makes, and during interviews. When Marisa questioned how she could add in her selling points, she and I discussed how her selling points would come across in the two parts of the interview process.

1. Cold Call – "3 facts in one breath"
If you make a cold call to the company you can still keep the facts short. Typically make it so you can list three facts in one breath. Think of it as your resume in voice form since you don’t want to take up to much of their time. In this stage, you can ask whether these skills are what the company is looking for.

2. Interview – "practice incorporating facts"
When it comes to an interview, you have more time to go into more detail and the interviewer will want you to. The interviewer will more than likely ask you additional questions to get more details from you. Make the facts more conversational while still keeping them brief and to the point. Practice incorporating your facts seamlessly into answers to questions your potential employers may ask you. As you can see, there are many instances you can incorporate your selling points into your application for a potential job.

Do you have a client, like Marisa, that could benefit from a discuss about how to incorporate his or her selling points into his or her resume, cold calls, and interviews?

In this section we discussed how your client can take their selling points and make them into facts so their potential employers can see that they can do the job. We began by discussing four different ways that your client can transfer his or her selling points into facts.

These four ways are to offer proof of proficiency; provide a list; use numbers or percentages; and use comparisons. We then discussed the three parts of the job application process that your client can include his or her selling points as facts.

These two aspects are the a cold call, and the interview. In the resume, your client’s selling point will be best if kept short, sweet, and to the point. If your client makes a cold call, they may want to still keep the selling point short and ask if these skills are what the company is looking for. Finally, during an interview, your client can elaborate more on his or her selling point while making them more conversational and natural.

In the next section we will discuss how your client who is looking for a job can use the side door approach of spontaneous contact to get an interview with a potential employer.

MacDougall 58-59.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Lievens, F., Klehe, U.-C., & Libbrecht, N. (2011). Applicant versus employee scores on self-report emotional intelligence measures. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 10(2), 89–95.

Roulin, N., & Krings, F. (2020). Faking to fit in: Applicants’ response strategies to match organizational culture. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(2), 130–145. 

Schmid Mast, M., Frauendorfer, D., & Popovic, L. (2011). Self-promoting and modest job applicants in different cultures. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 10(2), 70–77. 

What are two aspects of the job application process can your client include his or her selling points as facts?
To select and enter your answer go to Test.

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