“The room is a better place because you’re there.” – Jimmy Iovine’s father
There are thousands of SDR applicants. Most of them are average. Yawn. Here's how to stand out! Differentiate yourself and rise above the average.
Things Average SDR Candidates Do:
- They have thin LinkedIn profiles, if they have a profile at all. When it comes to highlights, they list the bare minimum, if any.
- Their resumes mirror their LinkedIn profiles when they should, instead, complement them. Often, their resumes are rife with power verbs vs. how they’ve taken things from x to y by when.
- Their cover letters (emails) are generalized vs. personalized. This way, they can blast the letter to anyone who will read it. It’s as if the cover letter is a relic and rarely read by hiring managers.
- They arrive at interviews on time or late, which is the same thing. They dress casually; and for online interviews, they ignore the look and feel of their appearance and setting.
- They send requests to connect on LinkedIn, but without a message. Therefore, the recipient has no color or context behind the invitation. “Who is this person?” the recipients say, before skipping along.
- After an interview, they focus on the next company or what to grab for lunch, instead of immediately sending a thank you card or email to the interviewer.
Average candidates are frustrated. Why won’t anyone write back to them? Why are there no good opportunities out there? How much longer is this job search going to take?
When the job offer is up for grabs between finalists, the advantage goes to those who covered the minor details of each step. Little things make the big things happen.
Read about Ramit Sethi’s Truffle Principle, for example. It describes how candidates must stand out to earn internships. The same applies to the SDR role. Like a grain of salt, you are not a commodity. Be the truffle in that pile of salt!
SDRs struggle with obscurity in the marketplace. They are tasked with sending hundreds of emails to prospective customers. They leave hundreds of voicemails for people. They are often the first conversation prospects will have with the SDR’s company. It is difficult to build rapport and establish credibility with prospects when no one knows who you are.
If you send a somewhat compelling email, for example, today’s executives will look you up (via Google or LinkedIn). You want yourself well represented, so those executives i) respond to you, ii) refer you, and/or iii) hire you. Craft an online profile that tells us how awesome you are. Better yet, tell us how you have failed, and how you’ve learned and recovered.
Check out these resources for representing yourself well on LinkedIn:
Start building your brand now. Get known. Arrive at a point where your work and reputation precede you, where others refer you, and where there is an abundance of opportunities. If your branding effort is well underway, we will see your tweets, posts, and updates. Make sure they put you in the best light.
After companies meet you, you’ll want them to stop the search right there and extend that offer. Right? Reverse engineer the process, then, and present them with their ideal candidate.
A Résumé That Makes You Proud
I’m surprised résumés are still around. (Must the e’s require accents? Nah.) Leonardo da Vinci himself wrote a resume over 500 years ago. Do you think he landed the job because of the resume or from all the artwork he had already produced?
In 2008, Seth Godin wrote “Why bother having a resume?” He claimed, “Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for…those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.” And he was right. Aim to reach that point in your career.
For now, though, you must start somewhere. Make it a priority to have a high-caliber resume represent you. Keep things neat, tidy, informative, and succinct. Check out templates from Canva or Google Docs (I like the one called “Mila Friedman”).
We won’t go deep on how to create a snazzy resume. However, as you would in your emails, make sure every word earns its right on the page. Hack away at unessential words. Tell us about what you’ve produced, what outcomes you’ve driven; and how you’ve illustrated leadership, or a competitive edge, or service to others.
Show Your Work
Where can we learn more about you; for example, outside your LinkedIn profile and resume? Do you host a blog or vlog? Are you an athlete or an entrepreneur or an activist or a student? How can we see what you’ve written, said, or done?
The best SDRs are documentarians. They keep track of their successes and failures (along with what they learned from those failures). Some use Evernote or Google Docs while others use Notes or OneNote. Then there are those from the old school, who write in a planner or Moleskine notebook.
Examples of what SDRs log:
- On average, the # of leads handled per week or month
- On average, the % of leads that convert to qualified meetings
- On average, the % of qualified meetings that convert to sales opportunities
- On average, the % of sales opportunities that convert to revenue (i.e. new business)
- The rate at which conversions occur (i.e. # of days or months between stages)
Whatever you choose, choose something. Start paying attention to your wins, your hiccups, and how you manage each. Let’s say you’re an intern leading a team project. Write down specific information, including the scope of the project, the names and titles of those who collaborated with you, what problem you solved and how.
This type of information ends up in your cover letter and resume. Your notes can become an article about your experience. You may want to self-publish it on Medium, for example, or YouTube. All of it is potential material for your cover letter, resume, and future interviews.
Show your work. Actually, get to work. You are not average, so lean-in to the details.
Separate yourself from the masses. Avoid obscurity by bolstering your brand and tailoring a resume that is forwardable. Start to chronicle what you’re doing and share it with others.
You’ll stand out among the masses and create momentum in preparing well for your interviews.