A big part of landing a job is selling yourself to the prospective employer. It is about convincing the employer that you are the right fit for the job in question. Whether you are a recent medical school grad looking for your first job or a seasoned professional with years of experience, how well you sell yourself may very well determine whether you get that dream job you’re hoping for.

WebPT contributor and physical therapist Heidi Jannenga wrote a very good piece earlier this year discussing this very topic. Her words provided a launching point for this post. If you want to know more about her thoughts on selling yourself to land that therapy job you have your eyes on, keep reading.

Sell Yourself AND Your Patients

Jannenga began her piece talking about the differences between selling yourself as a physical therapist and selling your patients in terms of how you can help them. The point of the discussion was to explain how physical therapists have a tendency to sell themselves short by focusing only on what they can do for patients.

You absolutely do have to talk about your genuine desire and willingness to help patients. But without the proper credentials to back up your passion and zeal, all the enthusiasm you present will not be enough to convince a recruiter that you are the right person for the job. You have to sell both your passion for physical therapy and the credentials that make you a good fit.

Redefine the Word ‘Sell’

Our culture may very well have done a disservice to job seekers everywhere by framing the job search as a task of selling yourself. Why? Because selling conjures up images of making money. Your average physical or occupational therapist looks at that definition with a measure of discomfort. After all, they do what they do because they want to help people.

One way around the apparent conflict is to redefine the word ‘sell’. You are not selling yourself and your services just to earn a paycheck. Rather, you are selling your ability to help improve the lives of your patients. The goal is not to convince someone to buy something; it is to convince them that hiring you will make a difference in the lives of the people you work with.

Sell Directly to Your Audience

When you go in for that interview, consider who it is you will be talking to. Maybe you’re trying to get a job at an established therapy practice. Perhaps you are hoping to start working at a prestigious hospital on the other side of the state. Or maybe you want to get into locum tenens therapy. At any rate, you will be speaking to someone who represents a particular audience you are trying to reach.

Your priority is to know that audience and sell yourself directly to it. If you’re hoping to land locum tenens work, go to that interview prepared to speak the locum language. If you are applying for a position at a local therapy clinic, go in with every intent of explaining how you can benefit both the practice and the community.

It can be difficult for therapists to think in terms of selling themselves. But truth be known, that’s really what job interviews are all about. The recruiter wants to know exactly what you bring to the table so that your positives and negatives can be compared against other candidates. The eventual hire will be that person who represents the strongest possible candidate – often times based on how well the interview goes.