How to Market Yourself in Your Job Search

When you’re job-hunting, it’s the time to showcase your skills, experience and accomplishments – to make it clear to HR folks and hiring managers how you can benefit their company, solve their problems and bring about world peace (well, maybe not that). In other words, you need to market yourself in your job search.

Here are six common marketing terms that translate to conducting an effective job search:

Brand identity

Who are you? What adjectives would you use to describe yourself professionally? How do you want your future employer to think of you – what impression do you want to make in your industry? For example, if you’re a banking professional, you want to present yourself as detail-oriented, quantitative and customer-service-oriented – friendly and professional, but not too informal. Everything you present (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile) should reflect this; you don’t want to use language that’s too casual or snarky.

Target audience 

The folks you want to read your resume and cover letter. Your target audience is your future employer. Since they aren’t exactly the same each time you send your resume, you need to tweak your cover letter and resume to emphasize the skills and experience that particular employer is looking for.

Value proposition 

In marketing speak, value proposition refers to the promise of value a product or service will bring to the customer. Why should a customer buy the product – what problem will it help them solve?

When you’re job hunting, your customer is the prospective employer, and the product or service is you. Your value proposition is answering the question, why should they hire you? How would they benefit by adding you to their team? Make a list of what you bring to the picnic. What qualities, skills and experience do you have that would make an employer drool with excitement (or at least, would help them reach their goals)? Be as specific as possible about these in your resume and cover letter.

Unique selling proposition

This refers to what a company is known for; what makes them different than their competitors. In terms of job search, what makes you different than other applicants? What unique blend of skills and experience do you have that others don’t? Greed is good – Wall Street, 1987If you specialize in a particular relevant skill, type of product or industry, or you’re a total geek about a specific topic, that’s your unique selling proposition. Yes, geek is good.

Infomercial

Like those late-night commercials about pickle-pincers and miracle mud, this is your miracle mud facialspiel about who you are professionally. In an interview, this is the answer to “Tell me about yourself and your background.” Your infomercial, like the late-night TV ones, should include benefits (what you have to offer) and features – stuff about you that makes you a good candidate for that particular job; your relevant skills.

Deceptive advertising

This is something you don’t want to do – mislead your target audience. In job search terms, this would be lying on your resume – implying or stating outright that you have skills you don’t have, or listing a degree on your resume that you don’t have. It’s too easy to find out the truth, and you wouldn’t want to be hired and then fired for being dishonest. A lot of negative brownie points for that one.

Marketing yourself effectively in your job search will help you land the job you want. So develop your brand identity, figure out your value and unique selling propositions for your target audience, practice your infomercial, don’t practice deceptive advertising and get a great job!

 

Social Media for Job Seekers: Dos & Don’ts

Use social media effectively in your job search

social media head

Dos:

  • Use social media to show your knowledge in your field and expand your network. Social media is supposed to be social, so interact! Participate in discussions; ask and answer questions; share info that may interest the people in your networks.
  • If you don’t have one already, set up a LinkedIn account, with a strong summary that includes keywords and phrases for skills employers would look for in your industry. Many jobs aren’t listed on job boards, and more and more employers are fishing for applicants on LinkedIn by doing searches for those keywords.
  • Join and participate in several groups related to your career interests. LinkedIn has tons of these; choose a few relevant groups and make intelligent comments and/or start conversations (check your spelling and grammar!).
  • Get as many LinkedIn references as you can, and write references for others without being asked. Be specific in the skills and accomplishments you’d like the reference to focus on. You can proofread a written reference and ask the writer to revise it before it goes public, so make sure it says what you want it to say about you.
  • Follow companies in your industry, and “like” them. That way, you can keep track of what’s going on in companies you may be interested in, and show your interest.
  • Do searches for keywords relevant to what you’re looking for, and connect with people who come up, with whom you have common professional interests.
  • Start a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. Use a headline relevant to who you are professionally.
  • Do searches for those keywords and relevant companies (and use hashtags), and follow them. If you have no idea what a hashtag is, get going on Twitter to find out!
  • Tweet and retweet links to articles relevant to your followers’ interests.
  • Comment on tweets and ask followers relevant questions.


Don’ts:

  • Don’t forget that everything you put online stays out there somewhere, and anyone — prospective employers, former bosses, etc. — can see it. So any questionable photos, potentially offensive comments, criticisms against current or former employers, etc. may come back to haunt you.
  • Don’t use a physical attribute-flaunting photo better suited to a dating site than a professional networking site, on any website you intend to use to network and find possible job leads. A head and shoulders shot is most appropriate for professional networking sites, so wear a business-y top.
  • Don’t refer to yourself in your LinkedIn profile or Twitter headline as “unemployed” or “job seeker.” Identify yourself instead as who you are professionally, in terms of the type of job you’re looking for (“financial professional knowledgeable about investments”). It doesn’t matter if you’re not currently employed in that field.
  • Don’t throw every noun you can think of to describe yourself in your Twitter profile. Focus on the relevant ones you’d want an employer to see. Rather than  “public relations professional, social media expert, reality show addict, wife, mother, sister, second-cousin-in-law” stop after “social media expert.”
  • Don’t forget to check out Google Plus, Pinterest, and other social networking sites (especially Pinterest if your field is visual, like architecture or web design).
  • Don’t just broadcast stuff. Social media has “social” in its name for a reason, so interact with people in your network.
  • Don’t start accounts and never update them. Keeping up with your social media accounts is time-consuming, but you generally get what you put into it. You don’t have to spend time on every site every day; a few times a week is fine. It’s better to stay active on two or three sites than to have skimpy profiles on many and rarely visit them.