I have a certain competitive advantage when it comes to finding and closing job opportunities. It’s not that I’m smarter, better-looking, or more qualified than the rest of the candidates out there. It’s that I follow some of the basic principles of my profession to find the best opportunities and to market to those opportunities. Because realistically, a job search is a marketing job. Here’s a few tips:
- Infrastructure – have your communications infrastructure in place. Make sure your résumé, your LinkedIn profile, and any public social media you have is branded and ready.
- Branding – put your best self forward, but make sure it’s true to you. Have nice clothes that fit, but if they’re not something you’d normally wear, get something you would that’s still professional. Have a decent photo for your social media profiles.
- Segmentation – While it’s tempting to flood the market with résumés, applying haphazardly to anything that you’re even remotely qualified for, it’s not effective. If you think of it like an email campaign, you want to increase your read rate. Apply for only those positions for which you’re really qualified, and that you really want. Use your personal brand as part of that segmentation. For example, I don’t drink alcohol, so I’m probably not the best marketer for a distillery.
- Reach – make sure you’re looking at enough opportunities. Marketing, at some level, is a numbers game. You have to reach for enough opportunities to ensure you don’t miss out.
- Targeting – according to where you are in your career, you probably have hundreds, and possibly thousands of people in your network. (Don’t believe me? Check your LinkedIn profile.) You need to segment that network into groups. For example, I spent a lot of time in the staffing industry, so I know a lot of recruiters. That particular group will get one type of message from me about my search. My direct colleagues will get a different type of message. Some people I won’t reach out to at all except by changing my LinkedIn profile and turning on the notification.
- Delivery – or more appropriately, the fourth “P” of marketing – place. Be where your “customer” needs you to be. Make it as easy as possible for them to find you, meet you, and hire you.