Looking for a new position cannot only be a full-time job, but it can also be frustrating. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you are thinking it is time to find a new position or have been looking for a new role to no avail, it might be time to reconsider your job search approach. I want you to think of your job search as a marketing strategy and the product is you!
Marketing at its core is having the right message to the right audience at the right time. So, when planning your job search as a marketing plan, you can take the following steps to organizing your job search marketing strategy.
1. Define your goal
You might be surprised when you are developing your goal for your next role. What do you want out of your next job? What’s the path you want your professional life to take, and what is the next logical step to get there? It could be more responsibility or less. It could be exposure to new brands, tools, technology and or techniques. It could be greater flexibility or opportunities to grow. I would recommend not honing in on a title or company just yet, because you might end up pigeonholing yourself into a company or job that isn’t meeting your core goals.
2. Identify your unique selling points
So, you know what you want out of your next position and you may have a title in mind. It is important in your job search to be laser focused on why you are the ideal candidate for a position. In order to do this, you should define and write down three-to-five unique selling points about you in your goal role. These should be very specific, believable and true. You should keenly focus on these three (or a few more) things and have stories to back them up. This will help you focus your cover letter as well as your interview answers because being a great (and succinct) storyteller helps stand out when interviewing.
3. Build personal brand
Your unique selling points should be able to drive you to have a pretty defined personal brand. You should use social media to align your unique selling points to potential employers. Repetition is key in marketing. If you have a cover letter that focuses on your three unique selling points, your social profile should re-enforce that message so when it comes time to interview, it all comes to mind for the interviewer.
4. Define your targets
Now that you know what you want and all of our personal branding work is aligned with your unique selling points, you can go forth and create a list or spreadsheet of target companies and position titles. This spreadsheet should be the place where you can document open positions, people you may know that work at the company or people that have similar titles. Knowing and keeping track of this will help as you go forth and begin applying.
It is important to note that if your ideal company does not have the right role open for you, you should not just apply. If you see a role at a company you want to work at and it isn’t aligned with your goals – do NOT apply. Wait for the right role or look at different companies. Your applications should be very tailored to your goal, unique selling points and personal brand. You do not want to be labeled a serial applier.
5. Networking with your targets
Use social media wisely to network with target companies. Do not send 1,000 generic invites to anyone you are remotely connected to. In fact, do not send a generic invite to anyone, ever. Instead, you can find common groups with people you would like to network with and engage in conversation in groups to create a warmer invitation. Try to use your existing network to connect to people with similar job titles so that you can learn about the job maybe even before you apply. Be sure you document who you network with and the group in your spreadsheet.
6. Observe their voice & tone
Be sure to follow your target company’s social channels, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The best companies use these tools to identify talent. The opportunity for you here is that you can learn a lot about how a company talks about themselves and their employees and candidates. In addition, these accounts are full of tips for job seekers and this will give you insight to what works and what doesn’t in their recruiting process. As you learn new things about these companies, be sure you document them. For example, do they call their talent employees or associates or teammates? It may be the little things that get you noticed in the cover letter/resume submission process.
7. Tailor your application & cover letter
I know everyone says this and it is really hard to do, but if you are taking a more focused approach to your search, you should realize that your cover letter and resume are your ad in this job search as marketing strategy approach. And the cover letter and resume should be one amazing ad. It should give the reader a preview of what it will be like when you are doing amazing work for them. Read your resume. Does it sound like an ad or everybody else’s resume? If it’s like everyone else’s resume, start over and write your work history so that the reader feels: But wait! There’s more! Call now!
The job search really is an exercise in marketing. The product is you and the customer is your prospective employer. You are selling yourself into a new organization. You need to be focused on your audience and clear about your message to stand out. And to do this, you need to focus on the goal and document each step in the process.
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