If you were on a diet, and someone promised you a beverage that tasted just as good as what the people not on diets were drinking . . . would you believe them? Probably not. But if someone actually delivered on that promise, and then some, would you remember their brand next time you went to the grocery store? Oh, yes - because the company delivered exactly what you wanted.
There was a company that did this, and created a genuine cult soda. And believe it or not, there's a lesson in this fizzy tale that can help you on your job search.
Knowing there were plenty of others like him, he took some chocolate fudge to a chemist he knew and asked if he could duplicate the taste. The chemist responded by creating a diet chocolate fudge soda, which actually did taste like the real thing.
Sales of Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda were modest for the first decade of its existence - until a syndicated columnist named Bob Greene happened to get hold of a can in 1984. This was a case of fortunate timing, as Coca-Cola had just launched one of the most brand-damaging fiascos in history - the so-called New Coke. Consumers were disillusioned with their old favorite and, quite literally, thirsty for the next big thing on the beverage horizon.
Greene, in his review of Canfield's, described it as tasting "like a calorie-free hot fudge sundae." Suddenly, demand for Canfield's exploded, setting off a brief spurt of chocomania - you can see just how far the madness went in this vintage People article. Bottlers were seeking franchise rights throughout the country - not bad for a brand originally sold in just four states - and the fizzy drink became a staple for waist-watchers during the decade of big hair.
Sales later went into decline as other flavored diet beverages appeared, and Canfield's became less common on store shelves - but its devotees never forgot it. As the Internet grew, bulletin boards for foodies and dieters began sporting questions from people looking to track down Canfield's in their area. Many of them spun nostalgic tales of enjoying the drink in their younger days - often with a scoop of vanilla flavored Light and Lively Ice Milk, another '80s diet staple.
The thing is, these people never forgot Canfield's - because it gave them exactly what they wanted, chocolate taste and no calories. They could just walk down to the corner conveniece store and grab any of 10 other diet drinks, but they chose to go the extra mile to get what they really wanted. Canfield's had become a true cult soda.
So how does this apply to your job search? Well, think about what Canfield's promised, and what it delivered. Their can told dieters they would be getting exactly what they wanted - and they followed through.
When you're writing your cover letter to go with your resume, study that job ad. Look at what the company wants in a candidate. Okay, you probably don't have every single thing on their laundry list of qualifications. It's rare that anybody does. But take the skills that you have, and figure out how to present them in a way that comes at least close.
If you don't know every single one of the programs they list, but know similar ones, tell them that - and then add that you're very good at picking up new things on the computer. If you don't have that master's degree that's "preferred," but you have more than a decade of practical, hands-on experience in a job similar to the one you're applying for, that's definitely something to tell them.
And the skills that you do have which match their qualifications? Sell, sell, sell them. You're giving them exactly what they want, dangling before them the promise of someone who can meet their needs, be a real contributor, bring something extraordinary to the company.
If you do that, they will remember you. Even if they don't pick you for the job they're recruiting for at the minute, they will keep you in mind when another, similar position comes along.
Just like the makers of an extraordinary diet soda, you can offer something that sounds irresistable, then deliver on it. And the resulting success will be sweet and tasty indeed. - Bonnie Walling