Job seekers: have you ever noticed how some people, regardless of their experience or qualifications, seem to be able to get any job they want? And once they do, within minutes they’ve been promoted and are quickly making their way up that corporate ladder? In today’s market, where competition is fierce, seeing these job seekers succeed so easily while others have been struggling for months can be demotivating and confusing for many job seekers. It begs the question – do these people have something that other job seekers don’t? While personality certainly plays a role, chances are they have mastered the all-essential skill to successful job searching. The skill of self-marketing.
The idea of self-marketing can leave many job seekers feel uneasy, due to the misconception that promoting yourself requires a certain level of arrogance. This isn’t the case. By taking a practical and pragmatic approach to self-marketing, there is no need to blow your own trumpet. So how do you do this? In the same way you would market any other product or service, by using this simple yet effective marketing tool: the 4 Ps of marketing. Not familiar with these? Don’t worry. Here is a step-by-step guide to show you how to use the 4 Ps of marketing to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Step 1 – Product (or Service)
In marketing, the first step is to clearly define the product and how it meets the need of the customer. In this instance, of course, the product is YOU and the customer is the employer. Before you even begin your job search, you must have complete clarity on exactly what it is you are selling and how it meets the need of your potential employer. To help you do this, you will need to answer the following:
1) What does the customer (employer) want from the product (you)?
Successful job seekers know what potential employers are looking for and how they can meet their needs. Ask yourself: what needs will the employer be satisfying by hiring you? What gap will you be filling? What problems will you be solving for the employer? What do they want you to do and achieve for them? What results will they be expecting from you? Answering these questions will help you grab the employers attention by showing them you will meet their needs.
2) What ‘features’ does the product (you) have that meet these needs?
Here you should think about all the attributes you have that will meet the specific need(s) of your potential employer. What unique mix of skills, experience, achievements, qualifications and personality traits do you possess that perfectly match the employer’s requirements? What are your USPs (Unique Selling Points)? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Successful job seekers are fully aware of what they can bring to the table. They know exactly what value they will add to a company. If you’re struggling to think about your ‘features’, these articles will give you are good starting point.
3) How will the customer (employer) use it?
You need to be clear on where your role fits into the company and how exactly your skills will be utilised by the employer to achieve overall company objectives. Successful job seekers generally have this big-picture view, showing employers their in-depth understanding of the job, which significantly increases their chances of being offered the job.
4) How do you want to brand the product (you)?
Having a personal brand is crucial to both a successful job search and for a successful career generally. The question you have to ask yourself is: if someone was to hear your name, what’s the impression or image that you would like to come to their mind? What do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known as a financial accountant or an expert in saving companies millions of dollars? How do you want to define what value you will bring to an employer? Listing your USPs, achievements and how you differentiate yourself from others will help you construct your own personal brand. You’re looking for a simple tagline – one or two sentences that truly represent what you can do.
Step 2 – Promotion
So you have your product, but how are you going to promote it? The best job seekers know what tools and methods they can use to communicate the value they will bring to employers. The main things to consider here are your CV, job interviews, your LinkedIn profile, the content of your introductory emails or calls as well as your ‘Elevator Pitch’ for social and networking events. How good are your tools right now? Do you have great content for each one? It is absolutely crucial that all of these tools are at an outstanding level and really communicate your USPs and achievements – specifically tailored to meet the exact needs of the job and the employer. Remember – it doesn’t matter how experienced or skilled you are. If you can’t effectively communicate the value you will add to a company, you won’t get the job.
Step 3 – Price
The price is the value of the product. In this case, of course, we’re talking about compensation. With all of your experience, skills etc. – what are you worth? Here, it’s important to be realistic. Looking at the market rate for the job you are applying to will give you an idea of what companies are willing to pay. You can then look at your USPs and differentiators to see whether or not you would value yourself higher or lower than the market rate. If you’re going to go higher, make sure you can justify it. Having a list of achievements and proof of what results you have produced for previous employers will be essential for this. The other thing to get clear on is where you are willing to negotiate. What if they offered you a lower salary but great health insurance, extra holiday days or flexi-hours? Make a list of all of your essential items and things you are willing to compromise on before you go into talks with employers.
Step 4 – Place
The question here is: what distribution channels can you use to get your product (you) in front of the customer (employer)? Successful job seekers know exactly where they are most likely to connect with the right people. Making contact through LinkedIn, email or a cold call are all viable options. Remember though that employers receive hundreds of connection requests so you need to be smart in who you choose to connect with (how relevant are they to what you do?) and in what you say. Job portals and recruiters are also options, though can be less effective. The best way is through networking. Using your current network to make introductions and attending social and networking events can all help increase your visibility to employers. Building your network through social media, by attending networking and social events, conferences, workshops, seminars or joining professional groups online will also increase your exposure to new employers.
Creating a marketing plan is beneficial for job seekers in more ways than one. Forcing yourself to think about your ‘features’ and USPs can make you more aware of the value you can add to companies and increase confidence levels. Developing a set of tools to promote yourself and a strategy for where and when will give you both a clear sense of direction and a more targeted approach to job searching – more effective than sending your CV to anyone and everyone. And having clarity on what salary you want, and where you are willing or unwilling to negotiate, will help you go into salary discussions from a stronger position. Most importantly though, creating a marketing plan will give you greater control over your job search, helping you to stay motivated and focused along the way.
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For more help or advice on how to market yourself to potential employers, email me at email@example.com.