Here's a continuation of my article from a few months back on how the successful job search is really just a personal marketing campaign.
To recap, the same marketing techniques that have sell billions of dollars worth of products and services on TV, in print and via direct mail can also help you find a job.
All you have to do is look at the advertisements you see with an eye toward borrowing their best ideas for your job search.
Here are three ways to do that, and get hired faster by emulating successful marketing.
1) Define Your Target Market
Smart marketers don't try to sell to everyone. Instead, they clearly define their ideal prospects in terms of age, income, hobbies, etc. Then, they create advertisements that appeal to them directly.
Example: McDonald's wants to be the #1 choice for children, so they target them by advertising Happy Meals with toys based on popular movies. Result? Kid sees toy on TV, kid pesters parent, parent takes kid to McDonald's.
You can do the same with your job search.
Define, in as much detail as possible, the kind of work you want to do and the company you want to do it for. Then write your resumes and cover letters to appeal to that target market. Speak the language and say what they want to hear. Leave everything else out.
Focusing on a "target market" this way will bring immediate clarity to your search for the perfect job. And it will give you an edge over approximately 80% of other job seekers, who really have no specific idea of what they're looking for.
2) Develop a USP
A USP, which stands for unique selling proposition, is at the heart of all successful marketing. Any business that can't answer the question, "What can I get from you that I can't get from your competition?" won't be in business for long.
FedEx ("When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight"), Domino's Pizza ("Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes, or it's free"), and Avis ("We try harder") all built billion-dollar businesses on a good USP.
To develop your USP, answer this simple question: "Why should I hire you and not the other guy?"
Simple, yes. Easy, no. But you absolutely, positively can NOT expect busy employers to figure out your unique value. You must do that thinking for them.
Avoid trite claims like, "I'm hard-working and trustworthy." That's not unique. (And it could also describe a good hunting dog.)
Instead, focus on your unique combination of skills, knowledge and experience.
Example USP: "With five years of helpdesk experience supporting 400 users on three sites, I've seen and solved just about every problem imaginable. In college, I completed officer's training as an ROTC student while earning my MIS degree. This gives me a broader range of technical, leadership and problem-solving skills than typical applicants."
Here's a fill-in-the-blank statement for you to complete. When you do, you'll have your USP --
"Because of my ________, I can do ________ for you better than typical applicants."
3) Contact Employers Repeatedly
It's an old saw in advertising that you must contact prospects at least 7 times before they will buy. Why? Mainly because people are busy, and easily distracted by the hundreds of marketing messages they get every day.
It's the same in your job search.
Employers are easily distracted by hundreds of resumes and may lose sight of yours. Or they may not understand your true value the first time you contact them. By reaching out and touching employers at least 7 times (unless they tell you to go away), you demonstrate the following:
* you are persistent,
* you can manage details,
* you really, really like them and want to work for them.
As a result, you'll gain an edge over other candidates who sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
Warning: do not contact employers seven days in a row (that's stalking), or send them the same follow-up letter seven times (that's lazy).
Instead, give employers one more reason to hire you with each email, fax, letter or phone call. Examples: you could share a new bit of market research, or a proposed solution to a problem they're having. Be creative and prove you can do the job with each contact.
Now, go out and make your own luck!
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients in all 50 states and 23 countries. Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, CBS MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, CBS Radio, and many others.
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