If you are looking for a job, think of yourself as a product to be sold...for example, a box of cereal or a new service from a bank. Think of employers as buyers. You need a marketing plan to make the sale.
Such a plan contains three elements: 1) what you have to sell; 2) where to sell it; and 3) how to communicate the selling message to prospective buyers.
Six steps to marketing yourself
Your personal marketing plan for career success should include six basic steps.
First, define what assets your “product” has to offer which are better to solve the needs of the buyer than the field of competitors.
It may be difficult to find many real points by which to differentiate your product. This simply underscores the necessity to execute an effective marketing plan in order to foster at least the perception of differences.
Second, create a list of prospective buyers where your “product” makes the best fit.
Third, screen and prioritize the list of prospective buyers according to how they match with what you have to sell and your goals. That list should take into account where you would most like to live, based on lifestyle, proximity to home, and other factors.
Fourth, learn as much as possible about each of the prospective employers who come out of the screening...their history, recent developments, sales and profit volumes, and recent major changes in management. This can be done by consulting such resources as annual reports, Standard and Poor’s, back issues of the Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, and recent books, which can usually be located through a nearby library.
Fifth, based on your research, carefully craft various versions of your résumés to make your “product attributes” (i.e., reasons to buy) as applicable and attractive as possible to each prospect. The selling points should include education, training and previous experience, special interests, and how they relate to the prospect’s business.
Sixth, cover each résumé with a letter that demonstrates a special interest in and knowledge of each targeted company. The letters should be as specific as possible, making such points as: “I know that XYZ, with sales last year of over $1 billion, is the fastest growing company in the widget industry as a result of its pioneering the development of the super widget. I am especially interested in your company because it is one of the keys to our nation’s battle against water pollution.
“Much of my education and experience points me toward building an engineering career in widgets. I can think of no better place to make that career than at XYZ. I believe I could make a real contribution to your company if I am fortunate enough to get an opportunity with your company.”
Most employers find it difficult to resist taking at least a second look at an applicant who has shown enough interest to do some homework. It guarantees a leg-up over the competition.
Getting a job requires a lot of hard work, patience, and common sense. Nobody said achieving career goals would be easy, but the candidate armed with a well-thought-out marketing plan, executed with focused energy and persistence, has a head start on the career path to success.
To get Ramon Greenwood’s common sense advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times and achieve your career goals, go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His published ebook, How To Get The Pay Raise You've Earned, available for download from Amazon.com, sets out comprehensive guidelines that will help you work your way through the challenge of negotiating the sensitive issues of why you deserve a raise. It also provides tips for how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot when you get an answer. Case histories of how not to campaign for a raise are included. Ramon has written this timely ebook based on a wide-ranging career, including serving as senior vice president of American Express; a professional of a number of companies; entrepreneur; author; and career coach. He is currently The Career Coach at Common Sense At Work. For further information, contact Ramon Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2012 Ramon Greenwood
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