Did you just say sales strategies in managing your career?

Yes, you need sales strategies where your career is concerned.

Let’s start with some basics. There are two types of sales persons.

  1. Hunter
  2. Farmer


The hunter is the one who goes out and does the research who will buy your product (In this case it is you). Once the target is identified, the hunter will find prospective leads, make the pitch, negotiate pricing, terms and conditions and finally close the deal. They then move on to the next deal.

Hunters are a rare breed. Good ones make a lot of money!

Their sales strategies involve locating the prey, taking aim and capturing the deal.

Here is the kicker. This is how we have traditionally looked for jobs.

Hunter career sales strategies

We scour the job boards. We ask around who is hiring. We identify an open position and submit our application or resume. We go into sales mode when we get the phone interview. We move through the interview process. We get the offer, and negotiate salary and benefits. We close the deal by signing the offer letter.

Do you enjoy this?

My guess is NO!

We use this strategy when we have been let go or when we are unhappy in our current position. For both of these circumstances timing is an issue.


Farmers are often referred to as account managers. They have an existing customer that they get to know well. They cultivate the relationship with the customer. They are there to help the customer solve their problems. They sell over and over again. There is a lot of repeat business. The idea is the customer knows who to turn to when they have an issue… You!

The farmer’s sales strategies revolve around relationships and trust. Farmers tend not to make as much money, but it is far less stressful.

Most baby boomers were taught that once you were hired you were loyal to your employer until you retired.

Boy those days are gone!

Farmer career sales strategies

We will start out like a hunter. We will want to identify the potential audience. Who can hire you?

That is when we put our farmers hat on. We will want to carefully cultivate key relationships with management from those employers. This might be through networking meetings, asking for introductions or through social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

We will want to understand their problems and issues. We will want them to know that we are capable at solving those problems and issues. When they are ready to buy (make a hiring decision), they will come to you.

Why will they come to you?

They know and trust you!


The big difference between these two sales strategies is timing. As a hunter, you can move as slow or fast as you want. To some extent you are in control. The other issue is this is hard work!

As a farmer, you are building the relationships and playing a waiting game. You have little to no control over the timing, but it is a lot less work.

Which of these sales strategies are you using in managing your career?

Which of these sales strategies will you use in the future?


Marc Miller is the founder of Career Pivot which helps Baby Boomers design careers they can grow into for the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers, published in January 2013, which has been featured on Forbes.com, US News and World Report, CBS Money-Watch and PBS’ Next Avenue. Marc has made six career pivots himself, serving in several positions at IBM in addition to working at Austin, Texas startups, teaching math in an inner-city high school and working for a local non-profit. Learn more about Marc and Career Pivot by visiting the Career Pivot Blog or follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.