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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 10, 2010

Author shows job seekers how to 'sell' themselves

By Anita Bruzzese

Harvey Mackay has been a salesman for a long time.

He has best-selling books sharing his business advice, and he heads a $100 million company. He's in great demand as a business speaker and has the ear of more than a few influential decision-makers.

As the job market has worsened in the past year, Mackay has turned his sales abilities in a new direction teaching job seekers techniques to help "sell" themselves to employers.

In his new book, "Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You," (Portfolio, $25.95) Mackay reveals a number of strategies he says can get anyone a job. In fact, he's so sure his strategies will work that he's offering a refund on the book if "you do not have a job in six months," he says.

Among his suggestions:

• Don't be the first interview. The strongest contenders for a job often are those interviewed last because they're recalled easier by hiring managers.

• Study while you wait. Check out the reception area to get a feel for the company culture. Are awards displayed for the company's softball team? You may be able to mention to the hiring manager how you are a great shortstop.

• Chat up the receptionist. These employees often are influential and can either get your call to the right person or not.

• Remember, it's not about you. During an interview, focus on what you can do for an employer. Do your research and then talk about ideas you have to help face industry or company challenges, or use search engines such as Pipl.com to find out more information about an interviewer.

• Read upside down. When you enter an interviewer's office, look around at books, photos or memorabilia that are displayed. This gives you an opening to start a conversation that makes you more memorable and likable.

• Interview the interviewer. While you don't want to ask about benefits or salary in an initial interview, hiring managers will favor those who come prepared with questions about the company.

• Debrief. As soon as you can upon leaving the interview, write down your impressions, thoughts, questions and ideas about those you met at the company.

This information will be critical for a second interview, "and second interviews land jobs," he says.

Write Anita Bruzzese c/o: Gannett ContentOne, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Va. 22107.