When it comes to looking for a change in your career, marketing and personal branding are two skills that are just as important as those on your resume. In marketing, it all starts with the 5 P’s: Product, Place, Promotion, Price, and Profit. In this scenario, you are the product and the profit is the career that you want. From your resume to the follow-up after the interview, here are some of my rules on how you can market yourself to land the job you want.
Be clear about what the type of position you’d be happy in. This goes beyond daily duties and salary. Is the work environment one you’d be comfortable in? Is there an opportunity for work-life balance? Will you be able to advance within the company? What does the benefits package include? These are all questions you should ask when looking for a position. The salary may be a dream but if you’re miserable at your job, the position could quickly turn into a nightmare.
Don’t let a job board do all the work for you- pound the pavement. If you’re looking for a change in career you should be actively searching. Call around, connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn, go to job fairs, talk to peers and see if they know of any openings. When you’re looking for a job it can become a job in itself but in the end, it’s worth it. The hard work you put into looking for your new career is going to get you where you want to be.
Work with a staffing company (like us!). Staffing companies have direct relationships with hiring managers. When you work with a staffing company, they’ll often market you to the employer and have more connections and opportunities than you might be aware of. They also have the inside information on various positions and place you with the companies best suited for what you’re looking for. Even if they don’t have something for you right this minute, they may come back to you later down the road about other fantastic opportunities. It’s all about the network.
Dress for the job you want. I’m a firm believer in looking the part. Sometimes employers need to visually see you in the role you’re interviewing for. If you’re looking for a management position, you need to look like a manager. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Even if you don’t have any interviews lined up that day, you’ll want to take the time to make sure you’re groomed and look your best. You never know who you’ll meet in a day.
Be prepared. One of my favorite quotes is “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” because it’s so true. As a job seeker, you should always have an updated and clean resume, ready to send out at a moment’s notice (I used to carry some on hand in a leather portfolio). Have a business card handy in case you have a lucky run-in with a potential employer (if you’re unemployed have some made with your contact info that states what your skills are or previous position was. Example: Stefanie Mitchell, Marketing Manager).
Be visible online but not THAT visible. A great way to market yourself is a one-pager, blog, or professional website which basically serves as an online resume and is an interactive way to market your knowledge and experience. In addition, (this is a big one) clean up your social media accounts. You probably haven’t given those Facebook picture tags a second thought since college, but employers are online have and they will search for you. And though we live in a country where freedom of speech is a right, you may want to think twice before posting an emotionally-filled rant or offensive comment. One compromising picture or insensitive comment can cost you the chance at an interview or a job offer.
When interviewing, be excited and passionate about the opportunity. Show that you can bring something new to the company and add to its value. Sure, you’re smart enough for the position but are you innovative? Can you bring in new business? How will you make the company run smoother? Your qualifications may be enough to get you the interview, but it’s how you differentiate yourself from the competition that will land you the job.
Get connected. Your professional net worth is often valued by your network. In some industries, it’s an asset to be “in the know.” If there’s a problem your team can’t fix, you should have someone in your contacts list who you can call that might have the solution. If you’re an introvert and spent most of your time in the books than networking, it’s not too late. There’s plenty of organizations you can join whether it be through meetup.com, Chamber events, social media, or community associations within your industry (To find these, Google is your friend). Attend events, volunteer, and start shaking hands. You should always have an ear to what’s going on in your industry. These groups are often where you’ll get the inside info on who’s hiring and how to get in.
After an interview, you’ll want to follow-up with a “thank you.” Either send one via e-mail or a handwritten note (on stationary) that expresses your gratitude for them taking the time out of their day to meet with you. Let them know how excited you are about the opportunity and that you look forward to meeting with them again. Drop a line or two about something that was discussed in the interview for good measure. Taking a little extra time out to show gratitude goes a long way in the eyes of the hiring manager and sets you apart from those who didn’t bother.
I hope these tips give you that extra boost of confidence to go out and grab your dream job. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Happy job hunting!
Written by Stefanie Mitchell, Sales & Marketing Executive. Stefanie is a marketing manager with a strong background in digital marketing, sales, and customer service.