It’s a given that public speaking skill is important in almost any job. Whether you have to facilitate a meeting, present a business report, brief colleagues on a new project, or simply carry on a dialogue with your boss or a teammate, being able to speak comfortably and effectively can be priceless. But what if you don’t have a job? Let’s explore how speaking skills could stack the odds in your favor in the game of job hunting.
A study has revealed that 70% of employers felt referred hires usually fit their company’s values and culture better than prospects that came to them through other channels. Unfair as it might seem, this figure suggests that when you’re seeking employment, who you know may have more influence than what you know.
Applying this to job hunting, it’s a no-brainer to say you’ve got to get out and expand your network, and then use it to track down potential job opportunities. For many, talking to professionals at gatherings and events can take considerable courage, but if you’ve been honing your public speaking skills, it’s far easier to initiate a conversation and exchange business cards with poise and confidence. So up your speaking skills, and put them to work every time a networking opportunity knocks.
Public speakers are masters of research. They recognize that a speech can only have a lasting impact if it’s customized to address the listeners’ needs and expectations. In the same manner, successful job candidates don’t apply for a position without first determining for themselves, at least as far as possible, that they’re qualified and a good fit. This takes research. You’ve got to understand as much as you can about the company’s history, products, services, mission, goals and culture. Omit this step and you’re likely to make needless and potentially disqualifying errors and omissions in the documents you submit and in your interview answers.
Practice for Interviews
Before showing up for a job interview, serious candidates anticipate the questions they’ll be asked, and rehearse their answers. There are plenty of resources, on the web and elsewhere, that advise about the kind of questions you’re likely to be thrown, and what interviewers will want to hear in response. You can also video mock interviews (with yourself as the interviewee) to polish your verbal answers and your body language too. In all of this sort of practice, your public speaking skills come into play.
Interviewers love candidates who look, act and sound confident. They notice how you enter the room, how you approach them and make eye contact, your facial expressions, and how you hold yourself, speak and move (or not) through the entire interview. The reason is obvious: They can’t trust a job to someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself. Fortunately, if you’ve already been building your public speaking skills, you know what it takes to look and sound confident in front of an audience – even if it’s only an audience of one.
You may still feel nervous when interviewing, but your practice at looking and sounding confident can carry you through the ordeal without giving the smallest hint that you’re not completely at ease and in control. That’s especially true of you’ve built up strong public speaking chops; a big job interview becomes just another presentation!