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In search for a job? Think like a salesman

Sunday August 25 2019


Job interview. Much of our communication, ironically, is non-verbal. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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World over, technology skill in its different forms, is one of the most coveted.

But why is it that there are companies with unfilled positions? When the world is teeming with legions of highly-trained professionals. Why is it that they say it is hard to get the right candidate?

Let’s start with the basics: schools impart skills. Graduates leave school imbued with a desire to tackle intractable problems of their profession.

In many cases, however, when job-seekers test the market looking for someone to buy their skills, they often receive a lukewarm reception. Many employers reject them or are less enthusiastic about their ability to deliver.

So, how can a job hunter be better prepared to impress a potential employer or client? It so happens that skillset alone is not enough.

We need skills on how to sell our skills — a mindset of a salesman.



It doesn’t matter whether one is a farmer, a carpenter, a computer engineer, a priest or a politician — we are all selling either a product or a service or ourselves.

At a job interview, you are invariably selling yourself. When you are preaching to a congregation, you are influencing your congregants to adopt certain behaviours and beliefs.

If you are a politician, you are selling policies to people. Now you get the drift.

Great salespeople have a knack for what they sell. They understand the high points and uniqueness of their product.

They speak about it passionately, eloquently and resolutely. They demonstrate that to sell, one must understand how to touch the hearts and minds of prospective clients through competence in communication.


In school, we are often taught how to write and speak well. But, the reality has a different lesson: Much of our communication, ironically, is non-verbal.

Salespeople charm not with words only but by appearance and body language. They also demonstrate a deep knowledge of their wares.

So, how does one acquire a mindset of a salesperson? The internet is awash with videos, podcasts and articles about how to acquire a salesman’s mentality.

We unconsciously judge and are judged by the way we shake hands, our facial expressions, our posture, the tone and timbre of our voice. Done masterfully, these leave a positive and a lasting impression.


Techies are often accused of living in their bubble — that they speak jargon, too hard to decode. We need to communicate in a way that the client feels understood.

In any case, when you go fishing, you don’t carry a piece of pizza as bait because you love pizza. Instead, you bait a fish with worms because they are a fish’s best meal.

To stand tall in the job market, we need to nurture a mindset that breeds enthusiasm, energy and optimism, one that endears us to others.

When this mindset jells with the skillset, a preeminent professional is hatched.

Mr Wambugu is an informatician. Email: [email protected] @ samwambugu2