A Personal Marketing Plan for the New Job Search

Having trouble getting called for an interview? It may be you need to make some changes to your job search routine.

The job hunt has changed drastically from what it used to be… and what used to work. In the past, you submitted applications to job postings; then sit home and wait for someone to call you for an interview. This strategy worked, way back when.

Successful job seekers don’t do this anymore.

We’re still in a recession; unemployment rates, while lower than the recent past, remain extremely high by historical standards. As a result, it’s likely that someone more qualified than you has applied to those open job competitions. If you’re waiting for that outdated process to work, you’re going to be there for a long time.

In past blog posts, I’ve written about how to use social media to network and get yourself noticed outside the traditional channels. In addition to considering that advice, you need to find a way to stand out from the other candidates; to show recruiters you have the skills to solve their problems. That may sound like a lot of work. However, those requirements can all easily be organized – and then satisfied – with a personal marketing plan.

Here are four steps to build your personal marketing plan… and get far ahead of your job search competition:

Step 1. Describe Your Dream Job

  • What work you really want to do?
  • What are the skills required of someone doing that job?
  • What are that person’s daily tasks?
  • What behavioral competencies are required for this position?
  • What type of experience does that person need?
  • What does this person’s career path look like?

You must be able to answer most of these questions before you even think about applying!

Network with people in positions similar to your target job; set up informational interviews. In addition, research positions on sites like Glassdoor.com.

Next, identify the gaps between you and the ideal candidate for this position. You may need to upgrade some skills or gain experience. Plenty of internship opportunities are available, year-round. And not-for-profits, start-ups and small businesses would gladly accept an enthusiastic volunteer.

Step 2. Identify Your Key Differentiators

  • What is unique about you?
  • What makes you stand out from the other candidates?
  • Can you quantify your achievements with numbers, dollar signs and percentage signs?
  • Do you have accomplishments that other candidates may not have (i.e. awards, publications, relevant memberships, etc.)?

Take an honest look at your own personality, proficiencies and experience. Ask friends how they would describe you. You need recruiters to look at your resume and online profiles, and really feel like they know you.

Step 3. Build Your Brand

You need to be able to describe yourself as the ideal candidate for your target job… and that company culture. When you introduce yourself to others, they will often ask what you do. Create a brief description of yourself, your “elevator pitch”, that highlights your key differentiators.

There may be more than one career path to your ideal job, or more than one job that interests you. Know your audience, and tailor your message to your individual audience. For example, companies wouldn’t use the same marketing collateral to present to all clients – large and small – across various industries. Instead, they tailor the pitch to highlight the products or services most valued by different target markets. You should – you must – do the same for your target employers.

Step 4. Execute!

Once you’ve created the outline of your candidate brand, update all of your social networking profiles, as well as your resume, business card, etc. to reflect this brand.

At that point, and not before, you can develop an application process. Much like a sales process, you should generate leads and decide how best to reach out to those companies. I’ve written a 4-part series of “How To” blog posts about using social networking for the job hunt, called “Dude Where’s My Job?”. Read through those posts for more tips on interacting with your target companies online.

Sitting at home, filling out applications and applying to open ads on those humongous job boards is old-school; a job search method is no longer effective in today’s economy.

Don’t sit at home wondering why recruiters don’t call. Prepare your personal marketing plan… and prepare to impress!





Scott-KeenanAbout the Author: Scott Keenan is a twenty something with a uniquely cynical view on everything. Scott specializes in Human Resources and Marketing, and he “shares the awesome with you as often as he can.” Check out Scott’s blog, and connect with him on Twitter!


Image courtesy of themreport.com, thank you!



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