Breaking through the Clutter

Breaking through the Clutter

Advertising professionals know that good television and radio commercials “break through the clutter.” That is, there’s so much to watch and listen to, whether on TV, on the radio or over the internet, that an advertiser needs to bust its way into our consciousness so that we’ll take notice of the message, remember it and buy the product.

For example, think of ads that you remember. They all have a jingle, or humor, or an attractive actor, or an attention grabbing message. Without these devices we’re likely to ignore the product or, sometimes, we’ll pay attention to it for a moment and then forget all about it.

Advertising concepts pay off in job searches, too. One such concept – “branding” – is very important but it’s also so important that I’m going to leave it to a later blog. What I want to write about today is “interview clutter” ““ what it is, how it hurts and how to deal with it.

When someone asks us for some information – especially when we’re trying to achieve something – it’s very easy to fall into the trap of delivering too much information… talking too much. We burst forward with answers, and examples, and even full stories, to make our points. This can be especially true in job interviews, where we’re trying to impress the interviewer with what we know and what we’ve done.

The problem is that interviewers don’t want to hear all that information. Typically, they have a goal – trying to fill a job – and, like most people these days, they’re busy and pressured. If the person being interviewed gives them too much information, the message is lost, just like it is on the TV commercial that doesn’t stand out.

So, am I suggesting that job interviewers develop a jingle to sing during the interview? Of course not (though it would be pretty funny)! What I am suggesting is that, before you interview, practice distilling your message into clear, succinct sentences. Learn how to describe your skills and your background in a short list. Most of all, paint a picture of yourself and your interests in an “easy to understand and remember” summary.

Make it simple for your interviewer to understand who you are and what you do… so that you’ll have a motivated buyer for your product – you!