Many of you are probably familiar with the hit show Shark Tank on ABC. We love the show for the entertainment and business savvy it offers, but did you know it’s also full of great strategies for job seekers? With everything from crafting a great pitch to keeping your options open, we’ve gathered our favorite job search strategies from the show.
1 | Have an engaging open pitch
The best sales pitches are the ones that start out with a bang! Same goes for resumes and cover letters. You want your reader to be hooked from the get go. Many people opt to open with a personal yet professional anecdote, using creativity or humor. Here are some great examples.
2 | Dress for success
Will Rogers nailed it when he said, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In the Tank, here’s what the Sharks notice first: your branding, your product packaging, and how you’re dressed. When you apply for a job, here’s what hiring managers notice first: your resume, your contact information, and you guessed it – how you’re dressed. To knock your first impression out of the park, you must eliminate any spelling errors or weird formatting on your resume, use a professional email (not cutiepie123), and dress to the occasion. This usually means matching the style of the company you’re interviewing with, like how Tipsy Elves donned their festive product during their pitch in the photo above.
3 | Personalize your presentation
When watching the show, you’ll notice that many entrepreneurs customize their sample product or anecdote to reflect the different Sharks’ personalities or preferences. This is genius because a) it shows they’ve done their research and b) it shows they care about the customer experience. When you tailor your job search to each company you apply to, it shows dedication to the company, the job, and the process. Do this by customizing your resume and cover letter to each position and doing research on the company and interviewers prior to meeting.
4 | Don’t be afraid to show personality
Time after time, the Sharks are convinced to invest in a company because the person behind it is just so darn inspiring. In the hiring world, this is what we call hiring for character, not skill. People buy into you as much or more than your skills and experience, so don’t be afraid to show tasteful personality and style in your job application and interview. After all, companies would much rather employ a human being than a resume-making robot.
5 | Know your stuff!
There is nothing that the Sharks (and hiring managers) hate more than when you don’t know your stuff. Before you head into an interview, do your research on the company, the interviewers, the position, and the industry. This should go beyond looking at the company’s website. What conversations are they involved in on social media? How do they interact with their local community? How are they tackling major issues facing the market today?
6 | Show passion for what you do
No one wants to invest in a person who sees their company or job as a hobby. Show your passion and commitment to what you do and why you want to work for the company you are interviewing with! Hiring managers will be inspired by your enthusiasm and assume that it will continue throughout your tenure as an employee.
7 | Don’t pigeonhole yourself
It can be valuable to be an expert in a niche market, but you’ll be more successful if you appeal to a wider audience. The high-end product that only appeals to wealthy female fitness enthusiasts is a lot less likely to see an investment than the affordable but highly-effective cleaning product that appeals to almost everyone. (Did you know that Scrub Daddy has made over $50 million in sales since appearing on Shark Tank?) Apply this same thinking to your job search. You may be applying for a Social Media position, thinking you should only tout your excellent social media skills. Little do you know that the hiring manager could see great value in your event management experience for planning social media campaigns and presenting at annual meetings.
8 | Explain your value
There always has to be a WHY factor. WHY will people buy this product? WHY should we invest in your business? WHY should we hire you? You want to answer this questions early and often. Present the value that you will bring to the table immediately as well as in the future. How do you plan to help the company grow?
9 | Be prepared for the best, but expect the worst
When entrepreneurs enter the Tank, they are all hoping to get a deal with a Shark. However, they understand that might not happen and most people will say “I feel fortunate just to have the opportunity to come here and gain advice from these experts.” You should have the exact same mindset during your job search. Invest your time and energy into the search so you can do it the right way, but do not be heartbroken if you don’t get hired or even asked to interview. In this situation, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback! After all, how can you improve if you don’t know what went wrong? Every job application and interview you experience are opportunities to learn.
10 | Tread carefully around negotiation
Negotiation is the name of the game in the Tank, but if someone offers you what you ask for, you better take it. Understand your requirements before starting the interview process, and if a company meets or exceeds your expectations in regards to salary and benefits… it’s time to celebrate! If you keep asking for more, employers will take this as a bad sign of what’s to come from you as an employee, and they often retract the offer.
11 | Keep your options open
Whether you are venturing out as an entrepreneur or job searching, it pays to keep an open mind. You may have a great product that has steady sales that are keeping your brand afloat. This does not mean you should stop innovating! Likewise, you may have a good job with steady pay and coworkers you get along with. However, staying open to new opportunities leaves you open to higher pay, awesome benefits, and new experiences.