There’s a very key ingredient to landing a double promotion and nearly doubling your earnings.
When I saw the role I wanted to go for advertised, and I saw the pay band, I didn’t think to myself ‘it’s too senior for me. I won’t apply.’ Instead, I thought: ‘what have I got to lose?’
For me, sending my CV off for a role that was two grades above mine was probably the most ballsy thing I’d done (up until that point, I seem to get ballsy-er with age…)
But it worked.
I got asked in for an interview. And then another one. And then I got the call and it felt like all my dreams had come true. I’d get to work from home. I’d get a company car. I’d get bonus. And I’d get a pretty significant pay rise.
So here’s my advice on how to land yourself a double promotion:
Understand your weaknesses
Your CV doesn’t lie, and recruiters aren’t going to read your CV and fill the blanks in with skills they hope you have. In your covering letter, you need to be realistic about the essential skills required for the role and what you know you can fulfil. For example, the role I went for asked for experience in the property market. I’ve never worked in the property market before, and that could be seen as a weakness.
Instead I said this:
Having come from a catering background, I would bring a pair of fresh eyes to the property market. I understand our consumer down to the ground, I’ve spent the last 2+ years talking to them, working with them, selling to them. I am a fast learner who would get to know the property ropes very quickly, bringing with a wealth of experience about the most critical part of the sales equation required for this role: our customer.
If you’re asked in interview whether you have done XYZ or experienced XYZ before and you haven’t, you need to acknowledege this. BUT you then need to flip it to highlight something relevant you have previously done. For example, : “I haven’t written an XYZ before… but I am able to build profit loss spreadsheets quickly from scratch to understand bottom line revenue, so I would be able to transfer this into the property model.”
Highlight your key skills
Before you walk into the interview, make a note of the key skills they require for the role and then make some bullet points as to how you fulfil this.
Let’s say they were asking for:
Good high level communication skills
High level strategic experience
Prior account management or sales experience
I would then write a quick example next to each, so that I could make sure I was showing them I have all the right skills for this role.
I’m not saying you should blurt your example out at random during the interview, but if you’re being asked a question that ties into these key skills you can use your example and conclude your answer with “and that’s how I have previously managed high level communication” or “and that’s how I demonstrated my high level strategic experience.”
Do your research
Especially if you’re trying to break into a new field. Spend time researching so that when you walk into that room they forget that you don’t have experience in that market or industry. Know who the main players in that industry are, how they operate and what kind of market share they have. Have some opinions on what they’re doing well and what can be improved. And reference these.
If you’re moving into a new type of role, reach out to someone who already does it and ask for the insider scoop. Get a picture of what they do on a day to day basis, the challenges they face, the word on the street for the industry.
The more you know the more comfortable you’ll feel in the interview, so not only does this kind of preparation mean you’ll come across more knowledgeable but it also means you’ll hopefully be a bit more relaxed, too.
I cannot stress this enough.
You want to walk out of the room and have them going “we need THAT person to deliver our vision.”
You do this by selling yourself.
Now, for a lot of people this won’t come easy, so I recommend you do what I do.
I make a pact with myself that as soon as I walk into an interview room, I leave my humility at the door. I am there to make an impact and my god will I tell them about the time I single handedly saved Christmas, or the time I worked back to back shifts to make sure the restaurant I was in at the time had enough staff to manage the covers. You want to show them all of your good sides – and make them as sparkly as possible.
You know yourself better than anyone, you are the best possible sales person you have for yourself.
So as soon as you walk into that room, straighten your shoulders and think “I’m going to make them think I am AWESOME.”
Because you are awesome. They just haven’t met you yet.