Marketing. There’s barely a product sold without it. When you market something, you highlight its best features to a potential customer. You need to demonstrate the benefits that product will bring to the consumer.
Finding a job can be like marketing yourself as a product. Think about it. The recruiters, managers and bosses of this world will only ever get to see a ‘snapshot’ of any potential staff they are planning to hire. How do you make a good impression with the limited time, tools and resources you have?
Here are some ways to employ traditional marketing techniques to market yourself like a product to reach your employment goals.
What are your best selling features?
You will have a lengthy list of saleable features. If you don’t, you are simply not thinking hard enough. For this list, nail down your five most essential qualities. Are you super-organised? Do you have technical know-how? Impeccable grammar skills? Think of your five most marketable qualities and keep these at the top of your list when talking to employers about yourself.
Honestly, what are your product weaknesses? Do you need to be honest about them or can you hide them?
We all have flaws and as we progress in our careers we become better at working with them and recognising them. You won’t be awesome at everything and knowing when you need to get help or spend extra time on a task can be a valuable asset. Look at your product’s flaws and make the most of them, or disguise them by emphasising the skills you do have.
Where do you fit in the current market? Are you unique, is there a market for you?
Are your skills in demand? Are there lots of people competing for work in the marketplace? Think about your unique skills and how you might stand out from the pack. Do you have additional skills? Would you be prepared to do some interning to gain experience? Do you need to do additional training to up-skill yourself?
Who can use you? What will they need you for?
What industries need workers like you? Think outside the square. Look at other skills you may have and how these can transfer. If you are looking for work, spend some time honing your targets. Think of companies that you want to target as well as industries. Consider contacts you may have in these areas and see if they can help identify who might be able to use your skills.
Where do those people go when they need something? How can you reach them?
How do you find work? Are jobs in your industry even advertised? Where are they advertised? Many industries have specific publications that they list positions on. Some larger employers have a ‘jobs available’ tab on their homepage. Are there jobs in the industry you are targeting on LinkedIn? Consider all your avenues when marketing yourself as a product.
Let’s look at your packaging.
When you are job seeking, it’s important to present yourself well. Your packaging in this case could include your resume and cover letter, as well as your professional appearance. What impression do you give? What impression is your industry expecting to get from potential staff? Could you present yourself in a way that stands out?
What can potential employers see of you?
Consider the following areas: resume, online footprint, references, look and presentation. If you manage to get your foot in the door, what can be seen of you? If you google your name, what shows up? Does this present a coherent message? Are you on-brand? Remember that you can tweak your image to suit certain occasions. Your hard-copy resume (if you still have one) might contain more information than your succinct, online resume on LinkedIn.
When the last time you updated your messaging?
A well marketed product updates its messaging frequently. Imagine if Coca Cola was marketed to us in the same way as it was 20 years ago. Times change and so should your messaging.
Will you perform as promised (really)?
Be aware of your flaws and faults and be honest with yourself about these. Never lie to a potential employer, aim to be as honest and as truthful as possible so that you don’t run into any trouble down the line. If your product doesn’t perform as you said it would, this will be bad for your career in the long run.
Do you provide follow up services?
Every good product comes with support! Even if you are not successful with gaining a job initially, it can pay to keep in contact with people and companies you have applied to before. When you begin applying for roles, keep a good list of jobs you have identified as potential matches to your skills, a list of jobs you have applied for and a list of places that have knocked you back or called you in for an interview. Sometimes no simply means ‘not now’.