Marketing 101 for Job SeekersJuly 17, 2012
n. The action or business of promoting and selling products or services
Whether you realize it or not, when you’re searching for a new job, you’re a marketer – you’re promoting and selling a product (yourself) and services (your skills). Here are some practices successful marketing departments employ that may help you sell yourself to a new employer.
Keep your branding consistent
One of the key roles of the marketing department is ensuring brand consistency. If you see an ad in a magazine, then go to company’s website and see a header with a completely different logo, then follow the link to the company’s blog and they’re promoting a completely different service than their ad or their website indicated, you’re not going to be very confident in that brand. If you can even tell what it is.
In the same way, you’ll want to make sure that your own “brand” is consistent. If your resume indicates you’re an experienced executive assistant, and your LinkedIn profile says you’re really interested in moving into the IT field, and your Facebook bio says you’re thinking about scrapping it all and going on the road with your band – well, you get the idea. If you don’t know what you want to be, a company is going to have a hard time figuring it out as well.
There’s nothing wrong with having a wide variety of interests and hobbies. But when it comes to what you say about your professional life, be sure a prospective employer is going to understand who you are and what type of job you’re targeting.
Explain the benefits
If an ad said: “Buy my product because I need the money,” would you be enticed? Probably not. You’d be surprised, however, at the number of candidates who take that approach to the job search. Under the “Objectives” section of their resumes, they write a novel about what they want out of a job, a company, and life in general. They go into job interviews full of all the wrong questions – “How much does this position pay?”; “How soon can I get benefits?”; “Can I work at home?”
When you send out your resume, and when you go into the first interview, you are the seller. The interviewer is the buyer. You have to tell the buyer what’s in it for him, not what you hope to gain from the transaction.
Know your audience
This is, literally, the first thing they teach on the first day of Marketing 101. Many people take a scattershot approach and use a fax/e-mail blasting service to put out a generic version of their resume to a large quantity of people. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive. But chances of your résumé being seen by someone who is looking for your skills, and that person being someone you’d actually want to work for, are extremely slim. You’re sending your message to the wrong audience.
Decide which companies and which contacts you’d like to target. Then find out as much as you can about them. You can then tailor your message to appeal to them. Think of your resume as your ad. You wouldn’t run the same ad in a sports magazine as you would in a fashion magazine. It takes a little more effort, but the quality of your results be worth it.
Measure your ROI
At some point, most of us have had the experience of putting a tremendous amount of time, energy, and/or money into something that just didn’t pay off. If we were lucky, we figured it out sooner than later. That’s whatROI is about – figuring out which efforts are getting you the most leads and sales (or interviews, in this case), and which are a waste of time.
It’s not an exact science, and chances are you’re going to make some bad investments. But set aside some time to regularly review what you’ve been doing and how it’s been working. If you’ve been attending a particular networking group for three months and haven’t made any quality contacts, maybe it’s time to find a new group. If you’ve sent numerous to several people at a particular company with no response, either find a better contact at the company, or concede that it’s just not going to happen and move on to greener pastures.