By Kathleen Sullivan
Successful job seekers understand and apply marketing techniques for their job search. Although you may not see yourself as a product that can be sold at a competitive price in the marketplace, this is how a potential employer views you. In a job search, the product is YOU and you are responsible for ensuring that your product is well defined, priced appropriately, targets the right customers, and uses the best promotional methods to reach your market. Job seekers who understand that the job search is a marketing process are more focused and effective. To plan and manage your job search using marketing techniques, start by answering these four marketing questions:
Who are your potential customers? How will you market yourself to your customers? Clearly define yourself as a product: What are you selling? If you are not clear about who you are as a product, the employer will never understand what value you offer and how you can benefit his company. Be specific about what you know and can do and use this information to develop your value proposition. What industries have you worked in and how is that industry experience relevant? What products and services do you have expertise in? What management, client, or project experience do you have and what results have you achieved? What technical skills do you offer? What education or specialized training do you bring to the position?
Set a competitive price: How much do you cost? Prices for goods and services fluctuate based on the market. There is a market price for your knowledge and skills, and you need to set your price competitively. Recruiters and hiring managers will know if you are pricing yourself too high or too low, both of which will impact their hiring decision. To set your price at a fair market value, begin by conducting research: Review annual industry or trade salary surveys Check out web sites with salary information. Speak with recruiters or executive search firms in your industry and field. Network with colleagues.
Target your market: Who are your potential customers? You have a specific product with a price point to sell. Not everyone is a potential customer. You need to hone in on a target market of the industries, companies, and positions that can best utilize your experience at the price you have established. Start by identifying and building a list of at least 25 companies that are a good match for your background and qualifications. This list will evolve over time as you vet potential companies and positions: Research companies in your industries and field and identify those that can use your knowledge and skills. Focus on companies that are growing or changing where your expertise and accomplishments will benefit them and meet their business needs. Expand your research by networking via contacts, referrals, business or professional associations, alumni services, or social media to get more detailed information about these companies and their current needs. Build a target list to begin promoting yourself.
Promote your product: How will you market yourself to your customers? You want to reach your target list of potential customers and sell yourself using multiple channels. First, develop your marketing materials: your 90 introduction, resume or bio, cover letters, business cards, and portfolio, all of which highlight the value you offer. Then, launch your promotional materials into the market place via business or networking meetings, alumni groups, recruiters and search firms, social media, jobs boards, and direct mail. Leverage the channels that are the most effective. Develop targeted marketing materials with your value proposition. Use multiple channels to promote yourself.
Using proven marketing techniques for your job search provides a framework for your job search. It helps you position and promote yourself in an employer’s terms. It may also help you land a job faster.