How does Apple get all those millions of people to enthusiastically lay down hundreds of dollars for iPods and iPhones, and thousands for MacBooks? Marketing. Apple is extraordinarily effective at communicating that their products will meet or exceed the desires, needs and expectations of their target audience.
And what is your job search, after all, if not a marketing campaign?
The product is YOU. The audience is the person or people you’re hoping will make you a job offer. They also have desires, needs and expectations about the person they will ultimately hire. And your task is to get them to believe you’re the perfect product for them.
Apply these same time-tested marketing techniques used by the world’s most successful companies, and your “career marketing campaign” will be just as powerful and rewarding.
1. Identify your objective. Before you launch any campaign, you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish. If yours is “get a job,” you’ve got some work to do. Be as specific as possible. Precisely what job? At what salary? Working for which department? Is there a division, group or supervisor you’d especially like to work with? By being crystal clear about your objective, you can measure every step you take against it. Everything you do, from the way you craft your resume to the way you dress in your interview to the answers you provide to questions should always be moving you closer to your objective.
2. Know your audience. So just who is this person you’re going to convince to “buy” you? You had better know more than a name. How old are they? How long have they been with the company? Are they casual or formal, liberal or conservative? How long have they worked in their industry? Where did they work in the past? Are they on the rise in their career, or on the decline? And what about the company itself? How well do you understand the culture, the current business environment, their position in the marketplace? The more you know about the person or people doing the buying, the better your chance of making a meaningful connection with them. How do you find out? Ask. Engage them in conversation, or casually ask a few questions of an assistant. Google them. Ask others in the same industry. Become a detective, and you just might uncover the clue that will get you one step closer to success.
3. Understand their needs. One of the great paradoxes of success is, in order to get what you want, you have to give someone else what they want. How can you do that if you don’t know what that is? If you’ve already gained an understanding of the people you’ll be interfacing with, you’re halfway there. Now you have to probe deeper. What qualities are they looking for in a new employee? What are their specific needs? Not just the job description, but from their personal point of view. What is their “pain?” In other words, what problem are they trying to solve or avoid in this hiring process? What is their hope? Interviewers often ask job candidates where they’d like to be in five years. Why don’t you try and discover the same thing? Where would they like to be in five years and how can you help them get there? The more you understand the needs of your “audience,” the better you can position yourself and the qualities you bring to the table as the answer to their prayers.
4. Create your campaign. Here’s where it gets fun and interesting, and where all your research pays off. Just as if you were putting together a puzzle, you can now take the information you’ve gathered and craft a meaningful, persuasive, memorable “campaign” to sell your audience on YOU. Remember, your message begins with your very first communication and continues at every subsequent encounter. Consider carefully what you say, how you say it, how you look, your attitude and tone of voice, your energy level. Every single element should be chosen consciously to be appealing and valuable to your audience, and move you closer to your objective that dream job!
Here’s a fact you, as a personal career marketer, must always remember: you will never land your ideal job unless you can convince someone to give it to you.
By carefully choosing each step you take, you will make that all important connection. Then you and your “audience” will come out winners!