Unit 1 – 107 Osborne St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3L 1Y4

Sell Them What They’re Buying

By Betty Punkert, Employment Facilitator/Computer Instructor

Frequently I work with clients who are looking to make a substantial change in what kind of work they are doing. This may be because they are new Canadians and do not yet have the certification they need. It may be because they have undergone physical or mental health concerns that mean they cannot return to their old career

In any case there is often very strong resistance to the fact that I am trying to simplify their resume or omit particular skills or education as they are not relevant to what comes next. But they worked very HARD on that certification, they remind me. They are very PROUD of that accomplishment. They don’t want to give it up because it is important, and this is the key idea here, to THEM.

Let me use an analogy from another area of life to help make this clear.

Parable of the Chef

You and your best friend (or your life partner) have decided you want to try out a particular new restaurant. It’s quite expensive, and so you’ve been saving and planning ahead to make this a memorable experience. You check out the menu online and have decided you know exactly what you want and you have been imagining how awesome it would taste for weeks.

You arrive at the restaurant and with great anticipation, place your order for your meal. And yet when the server comes back, it’s not what you ordered at all. It’s something else on the menu. Perhaps you wanted chicken and got steak. Either way, even if it is more expensive than what you asked for, you are upset because it’s not what you wanted.

When you complain to the server, they respond with the explanation of, “well, the chef is very good at that dish, and they are very proud of how hard they have worked on it, so that’s what you are getting because it’s what they think you need to have.”

Are you feeling very satisfied right now? Probably not.

Give Them What They Want

And yet, when we insist on overselling ourselves or forcing our specialized upon an employer, not because it’s what they asked for (the job ad) but because it’s important to US, aren’t we doing the exact same thing as that chef? With exactly the same results?

Look, you need to sell what they’re buying. And if you were an engineer or a doctor or an accountant in a previous life but you’re looking to do something new, you have to sell the something NEW effectively. Your new employer only cares about what you will offer them going forward. Your past provides context in this situation, and if you’re trying to make it provide validation, you may be approaching the challenge from the wrong angle.

Focus on their needs, not yours, and you will get more responses.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to separate your past from your future and presenting the skills you need to get your next job instead of your last one, give us a call on Monday morning before eight a.m. at 204-989-6503. Leave your name and number, and someone will call you to book an appointment with an employment facilitator to help narrow things down.

We’ve helped over 400 people find meaningful employment

Every year…for twenty years

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"This place really helped me in my time of need. I was struggling with my previous job mentally, emotionally and physically. The counsellors are compassionate, supportive, and just a lot of fun. They take their time with you, as much as you need, and as often as you can, to help you move on to a new form of employment. I have and will recommend this place for anyone who is needing a change in their employment. They have excellent knowledge of using the right information and key words to make your resume and cover letters stand out in an application. I couldn't be more thankful to them."

Happy New Year Mr Robinson

I would like to express my experience that I had when dealing with your professional team at your center which indeed have changed a lot in my job search.

My experience in your center was very rich by the fact that I benefited from guidance services, CV, cover letter, how to pass an interview and Branding statement...etc.

Because of these workshops, I had the pleasure to work with Laurie, Betty, Kristina, John, Judy and Lisa, they were all amazing and very professional.

It is difficult for me to find the exact words to express my gratitude and to thank each member of this great team that you have but, above all, I would like to especially thank Betty for her good work, I was able to get my first job. in Winnipeg plus I got a lot of encouraging feedback from other employers. I also would like to thank Laurie, because of her I was able to understand and have love in what I do and also how to search for future jobs with love.

In short, you guys are simply a magnificent and professional team I have ever worked with.

Thanks again and Happy New Year


Unit 1 – 107 Osborne St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3L 1Y4
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