There was a very lively discussion a while back, started by Tyson Winfrey, in the “Hiring for Hope” group on Linkedin about treating your job search as a full time job. I agree with Tyson’s point of view, but I suggest you need to take it one step further. In reality, you are the CEO of your own company, and you are the product. Granted, the salary leaves a lot to be desired, but the responsibilities and focus you need to be successful are the same as those faced by any CEO.You are, not only the product but, the only sales & marketing staff your company has. You must build a strong marketing department that will get you noticed.
Why Should I Hire You?
The overriding question any company must answer is “why would anyone want to buy my product?” This cuts to the heart of your job search - why would anyone want to hire you? You MUST be able to successfully answer this question. Remember, your search is NOT about you getting a job; rather, it is about how you can become an asset to the company who would hire you. Do you need to improve your “product” to make it more salable? Will additional training or certifications make you more marketable to potential employers, or do you already have the necessary skills and background? If you need additional training or certifications, get them. Once that is done, it all boils down to marketing and sales. John Covington, who owns Chesapeake Consulting and moderates a Job Club in Severna Park, Maryland, loves to say “If you are not getting interviews, you have a marketing problem. If you are getting interviews but not getting offers, you have a sales problem.” I totally agree with him.
Marketing Step 1 - Awareness
Again paraphrasing John Covington, there are three phases to marketing - awareness, familiarity, and emotional response. Awareness just refers to people knowing you are looking for work, and, if you are lucky, the type of work you want. It is a fact that we will only retain less than 10% of all the information we are exposed to after 48 hours, so you must continue to market yourself. Sending out resumes only creates awareness unless there is a need, AND your resume grabs the reader’s attention. With the average job ad receiving 300+ responses, the chances of you getting past the awareness phase are slim. All things being equal, you have approximately a one in fifty chance of landing an interview. This may be a major reason only 20% or so of jobs are gotten just by responding to ads.
Marketing Step 2 - Familiarity
Familiarity refers to people knowing what type of job you are seeking and keeping that information in the front of their consciousness when they become aware of an appropriate opportunity for you. To get to familiarity you must network. Not only must you network, but you need to routinely stay in touch with your network so that when opportunity presents itself yours is the first name that comes to mind. Routine follow-up contact with your network will create familiarity.
Marketing Step 3 - Emotional Response
You may strike a chord with some of those in your network. This is known as an emotional response. You can control awareness and familiarity, but not emotional response. These people will actively go out and promote you to their contacts rather than just wait for an opportunity to present itself. The more you network effectively, the more likely you will elicit an emotional response with some in your network. If this is achieved, you will have built an effective marketing department whose size is only limited by the size of your network.
That is why you are the CEO, and the job search is a full time endeavor.
Next up - Selling Yourself!
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