Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Art of Selling Yourself

Monday's session started with our guest speaker, Andrew Hofmeyr. A most interesting and inspiring individual. I liked the idea of being a 'product' and my success as a job-seeker dependant on how I 'market' myself, by projecting my strengths and showing the ability to improve on my weaknesses. Interestingly, some of our speakers (Gordon Freer & Roy Blumenthal) asked that we think of job-seeking in terms of the job market being a supermarket. Ourselves as the various brands displayed on the shelves, and the employer as the shopper that makes the choice about which brand he/she prefers.
So many questions come to mind in considering the dynamics of job hunting. What are the qualities that prospective employers are looking for? What does it mean to be a fresh job-seeker with little or no experience? What kind of employment are we looking for as job-seekers? Are we marketing ourselves adequately? Do we put enough thought and effort towards preparing for job interviews?
Andrew Hofmeyr says ''I look for qualities, I don't look for qualifications''.
Andrew traced very briefly the shift in expectations career-wise, from when employees stayed in the same job for most of their working lives, to the many career opportunities that are available now. He advised that we re-conceptualize who we are, look at the market, understand what is needed and think about how to approach these organisations offering services that meet their needs.
It gives one a wide range of choices on how to approach the job market. Innovativeness was one of the words that came up several times from different speakers. Finding innovative ways to present yourself and approach prospective employers. The team from ECI Africa, Sipho Dayel and Janet Pringle, stressed the need to use all the instruments available to you as a selling tool. Such as your person, your cv and the interview process.
Qualities like attitude, body language, eye contact, appearance to name a few are important in projecting a positive message about who you are. Eileen Maleka and Raj Naran our facilitators from Careers Counselling & Development Unit (CCDU), at Wits University, shared their human resource development expertise with us. They made us look critically at some of the skills that are required in the work place. Such as negotiation, political awareness, problem solving, networking, self-awareness, presentation skills, decision-making and a host of other skills, that are relevant to your success as an employee within an organisation.

1 comment:

Valentin said...

Dear Ijeoma, i particularly liked your understanding and description of the insights gained from Andrew Hofmeyr's presentation.
I see that you have also read my blog on this issue. I definitely share your opinion that Andrew Hofmeyr was talking about projecting yourself and exosing your strenghts and abilities in the workplace. And these are indeed the most essential components in finding your workplace and suitable job. As you noticed, it is important to show your qualities to the employer, not solely your qualifications.