Sell Yourself Like Don Draper of Mad Men

Job searching is stressful and can be a full-time job itself. So how do you capitalize on standing out to recruiters and HR representatives alike? Be bold! like Don Draper of Mad Men.

Don Draper was working in a men’s clothing store when Roger Sterling walked in to buy a suit. Don knew Roger was an advertising executive, although Roger had no idea who Don was. Don took the opportunity to not only sell Roger clothing but also ask for an advertising job. Roger blew him off as a waste of time. What did Don do? He didn’t take no for an answer and remained persistent after numerous attempts. Finally, he ran into Roger in the agency’s lobby, claiming that they previously agreed to Don coming to the office for an interview. His boldness paid off and the rest, as they say, is television history.

Although some of the job searching techniques in Mad Men might be tricky to pull, the principles apply. Be bold! Professionally, that is.

How can job seekers be bold in today’s market? Here are three opportunities for you to stand out from the competition, and channel your inner Don Draper.


1. Have a well-established and promoted LinkedIn profile. As the premier social media site for businesses and professionals, LinkedIn provides visibility for your resume. In Don’s days, he didn’t have social media to make it easy for him to get in front of recruiters, but applied similar tactics to in-person interactions.

2. Ask for recommendations and endorsements from those in your network to help provide validation of your professional skills to prospective employers.

3. Join and participate in professional groups. Demonstrate your knowledge and skills by talking with other colleagues in your field. This also increases your chances of being viewed by a recruiter or hiring manager.


4. Send your resume directly to the company recruiter, either by email or through LinkedIn (feel free to connect with me). Chances are good that these individuals have an online profile, giving you the opportunity to reach out to them directly and possibly side stepping the black hole that can be a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS). Don already knew who Roger was, After Roger’s rejection, Don got his credentials in front of the hiring manager by “running” into Roger in the lobby. Although you may not want to ambush a hiring manager at the office, an email or LinkedIn message is an effective tactic.

5. Include your LinkedIn profile’s hyperlink on your resume. This shows that you are progressive and reiterates your professional knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs).


6. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the opportunity to speak with the recruiter about your professional experience. At the end of the phone screen, close for the opportunity to progress to the next steps. As you progress, close at every opportunity so that you continue to demonstrate your ability to sell yourself. Don demonstrated his ability to go after an opportunity—a common requirement in advertising—by “setting up” a meeting with Roger. He was assertive enough for Roger to take notice.

Remember, there’s a a fine line when selling yourself. You don’t want to be too confident to come off as arrogant, but legitimate enthusiasm will go along way.

Boldness, especially when applying for a sales role, can set you apart from the rest of the pack by demonstrating your ability to assert yourself to close the deal. But there are different interpretations and perspectives on boldness. Get a feel for the company you are applying to. Research what type of employees they tend to hire. Are they competitive, type-A personalities? Are they more timid, analytical type individuals? Knowing the current workforce will give you a good idea of how far to push your boldness. So next time, channel your inner Don Draper, sell yourself and close the deal—your next job!

Happy job hunting!