“If you’ve created something you truly believe in, then your obligation is to bring it to other people. There’s nothing seamy about it.” says Daniel Pink, author of many books including the very recent To Sell Is Human.
That’s how I feel about all you job seekers. You have talents and abilities that are needed by employers! Your obligation is to make yourself known to those who need you.
Yet I encounter so many who say “I’m uncomfortable tooting my own horn.” What they mean is they don’t fully appreciate their own abilities, nor do they appreciate that other people know nothing about them. It’s not bragging to talk about what you’ve actually achieved, what you can do and have done.
Here are 3 lessons from marketing for job seekers:
1. Treat yourself like a “product” that has “features and benefits” that will solve someone’s problem. Marketers zero in on a problem that needs to be solved and communicate how their product or service will solve that problem. You see this formula all the time in commercials. PROBLEM: Laundry stains that won’t come out? SOLUTION: This special product that has these things in it to allow it to take out all those stubborn stains, so your clothes look good as new.
For a job seeker, the problem is stated in the “help wanted” posting and job description. A job description is a statement of need. The job seeker can look at each element of the job description and say how s/he has solved a similar problem in other jobs. I suggest making a simple 2-column/many rows table where you paste the job description requirements in the left column and then in the right column write out how you have worked in a similar situation. When you write it down, you will more easily see that you are stating facts when you talk about your accomplishments – not bragging.
Do your own market research by using key words or phrases from your resume to search for job postings on Indeed.com, LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, Craig’s List and Monster. See what job titles emerge from your search. Are those jobs appealing to you? If not, change your keywords in your resume. If they are appealing to you, you can use the table described above to make sure you are a good fit for the position. If you are, then apply. If you don’t match at least 75% of the requirements and have 75% of the experience needed, don’t apply. It wastes your time and theirs. By all means, apply selectively.2. Not every product is for every market, and you’re not right for every job. Based on market research, marketers target their messages to people who are most likely to purchase their products. If someone doesn’t drink soda, no message from Coke or Pepsi will be effective. Similarly, you will be an appropriate “solution” to only some problems in certain markets. Target your applications to the appropriate market.
Develop a “must have” list against which you will evaluate potential jobs. Just remember that a job description provides maybe 25% of the data you will need to make an informed decision about whether this job is for you. The other 75% of the information comes from the interview process, especially the human interactions.
3. Sometimes people don’t know they need a product or service, and that’s why marketing is everywhere and very frequent. Wh0 knew they needed a smart phone until smart phones became widely known and available? Who knew there were gluten-free foods until companies began putting “gluten-free” on their packaging? Marketing is about building awareness of an available solution, and frequency of messaging is key to its registering in someone’s head.
I extrapolate from this truth that you do need to apply for many jobs that meet your general “must have list.” Perhaps the company never thought of hiring someone with your particular background. If you take yourself out of the hiring process too soon, you will never get the chance to know if the job really is right for you. So even if you think it’s a long shot, go for it.
The other thing about frequency is that most marketers realize that only a small portion of the buying public will purchase their product at any one time, so the messaging has to continue in order to catch buyers as they become ready. So you need to apply for as many jobs as possible WITHIN YOUR TARGET MARKET to increase your chances of getting a job.