Job Search Marketing

The idea that a successful job search requires a strategic plan is not a new concept, but it still is not executed by most individuals in career transition.  

In this piece we outline a basic sales and marketing principle that is taught in ‘marketing 101’ as well as sales training courses. Only we apply it to job search.

One approach of teaching the basics of marketing and sales are referred to as the P’s.  The P’s are a system to break down the elements of a marketing mix and sales process into easily understood terms.

The 5 P’s of marketing are: Product, Price, Packaging, Place and Promotion

The 4 P’s of sales are: Prospecting, Problem Solving, Presenting and Persuading

The Marketing P’s from a job seeker perspective

Product: In a job search, it is you.  You are the product.

Price: The compensation question will inevitably be asked.  In the current economy, this can be a “trap” question and should be handled very delicately.  There are undeniable facts regarding a candidate’s historical pay grades, salaries, bonus plans, benefits, and perks.  However, the more important aspect of price is a job seeker’s compensation expectations.  We strongly recommend job seekers understand the potential hiring company’s compensation philosophies and structures prior to answering the price question.

Packaging: For a job search this is your resume, CV, your personal website, your online identity, cover letters, emails, business card, LinkedIn profile, interview presentation materials, and everything else associated with your personal brand.  When speaking to job seekers, I often ask the question: Do successful salespeople enter a sales call with no marketing literature or presentation materials?

Place: Job seekers must choose the right distribution channel to get their message out.  Some choose old fashioned push marketing methods such as paying to have third parties fax or email blast their resumes. Others focus on more modern pull marketing techniques like optimizing LinkedIn, a personal website or blogging.

Promotion: Promotion can be thought of as activities or incentives to get the buyer to take action.  For a jobseeker, this occurs by creating demand for your services through wide networking.  If you can creatively position yourself as someone highly sought after by the competition, even better. Sometimes, this can be accomplished by simply having a meeting with the competitor of the company interviewing you. The hiring manager will be very interested in hearing anything about the competition.

The Sales P’s from a job seeker perspective

Prospecting:  Today, many job seekers are focused on prospecting on job boards. I believe a better job search approach is to target a list of best-fit companies, based on industry and geography. Then utilize databases to identify the management teams of these companies, cross referencing key managers with your personal connections.  Social networks like LinkedIn can really accelerate this process. Never leave a meeting without a new name to contact or an action item for next steps.  Doing so is like taking your foot off the gas pedal of a car. Your networking will slow down and targeted networking is the lifeblood of accelerated job search.

Problem Solving: The best way to get hired is not to show people your resume, but rather to communicate how you can solve their business problems.  People are hired to solve business problems.

Presenting:  Successful interviewing requires a well thought out plan, research on the hiring manager and the company.  Come prepared with good questions, examples of your work, and be polished and alert.  This is not the time for your mind to drift. This is the opportunity to look someone in the eyes with confidence.

Persuading: The art of persuasion is effectively the ability to overcome objections.  The best way to persuade is to ask questions that will uncover the buyer’s (hiring manager’s) requirements, needs, issues, and pains. Then take information provided and appeal back to the hiring manager with a careful balance of logic and emotion that convinces them that you are the best person to achieve their desired outcomes. 

Although not included in the traditional sales and marketing courses, I think one more P deserves mention. That’s Passion.  Passion is contagious. If you can inject passion into your networking and interviews, it will definitely accelerate your job search. True passion will make you stand out in the crowded job search market.

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