Modern-day job search is not like it used to be. Long gone are the days of applying for jobs online and getting calls for interviews.
Depending who you ask, there’s only a 2-4% response rate for posted positions. Yet, so many people start their job search this way because that is what they know. Essentially, what they are doing is marketing without a plan.
When I first got introduced to direct mail 15+ years ago, I was told, “Direct mail is like the salesman that lands in your mailbox.” Well, this scared the heck out of me because I was coming from a graphic design job and knew nothing about sales. Yet, those words always resonated with me whenever I planned marketing campaigns. In a job search, it’s really no different. Your LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letter are your sales team. And they are going to help your ideal employer find you.
So, you really need to run your job search like a marketing campaign. Let’s walk through the critical components of a campaign. Then I’ll show you how it translates to job search.
The Target Audience = Your Ideal Company and Position
You would never go to market without knowing who your target audience is. So why would you launch a job search without knowing where you want to end up? Every day I see people launch their job search by updating their resume and then blasting it everywhere. In reality, it pays to take the time to figure out where you want to be.
- What industry?
- What size company (staff and revenue)?
- Agency or Corporate?
- B2B or B2C?
- What type of culture are you looking for?
Once you have your ideal company in mind, find out what their pains are and how you can solve those pains. Then you’ll know what to highlight from your career that is relevant to your target company.
The List = Your Network
In marketing the list plays a big role in the success of your campaign. It’s all about sending the right message, at the right time, to the right people. In job search it’s all about your network.
You always hear that 80% of job opportunities are not posted – this is what is called the hidden job market. The key to tapping that is your network.
People you already know are much more likely to read and respond to your message. Now, you can take your list of target companies and figure out whom in your network knows people there.
Are you thinking you have a small network? Think again! Make a list of everyone you know – family members to your accountant to former colleagues – and it will surprise you how fast your network can grow.
The Unique Value Proposition = Personal Brand
Differentiation is essential for any product to succeed in the marketplace. Why is your product better, faster, easier than the competition, right? The answer is your unique value proposition. Well, in job search it’s your personal brand.
Personal branding is an essential part of your professional life, no matter what stage your career is at. And everyone has a personal brand, whether they know or not. Really it is just your reputation.
So what are you known for in your industry, in your world? What makes you different? If you don’t know, ask. The quickest way to find out some things about your brand is to send a note to 10 people. Ask them to provide 3 adjectives that they think describe you. Compare their answers to adjectives you picked to describe yourself. Do they align? Why or why not?
Lastly, every good value prop needs support from benefits, not features. The same thing is true for your personal brand, especially when writing your resume. In this case, it’s your tasks that are the features, and your accomplishments are the benefits. Make sure you’re putting emphasis on your results (benefits) and quantify as much as you can.
Also read: How to Conduct a Personal Brand Audit
The Offer (call to action) = Ask for the Interview
Marketers put a lot of thought into the offers you create for your campaigns. You want to motivate response or even a sale, right? Job search is no different. You want to motivate people to call you for an interview, so having a call to action (CTA) is important.
The easiest way to do this is in your cover letter. Most cover letters end with something like, “Thank you for your consideration. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to discuss potential career opportunities.” You never want to be “hopeful” at the end of your cover letter. That just hands the power right over to the hiring manager who will inevitably say no thank you.
Instead, restate the value you bring to the employer and then ask for the interview. So now, you have something that sounds like, “I am exploring new opportunities to contribute to Acme Technology’s marketing strategies. May we meet to explore your needs further and discuss what I can offer?”
Another place to incorporate a call to action is on your LinkedIn profile. Ask people to connect, visit your website, call, or email. You can put a CTA in your summary section and even in your current job description.
The Channel = The Delivery Method
Just like the Internet and social media have changed how you market, it has also changed the hiring process. Pushing out messages, like applying to jobs via online postings, no longer works the way it used to. Now, marketing pulls people in. You want to run a multi-channel campaign with your job search so you can attract your ideal employer.
Your resume is no longer the star of your job search. Nor is it the first thing people see. They are going to Google you and look you up on LinkedIn. Do you know what they will find when they do?
If you want to give yourself an edge create your own web portfolio and create a video bio. Some recruiters will automatically reject candidates that have no social media presence, especially in the field of marketing.
Lead Management = The Follow-Up
All marketers have some type of lead funnel, whether it’s a sophisticated automation system or a rudimentary process. Your leads from your campaign are hopefully not just sitting somewhere in a database. It should be the same way with your job search.
You can use a tool like Jibber Jobber, a CRM system for job search, to track your applications, interviews, and connections. This will help you be much more prepared when you get calls and want to follow up on your status.
And, you may think this goes without saying, but always write a thank you note to anyone you interview with. Time is of the essence so email is acceptable. Many job seekers just don’t do this. So, it’s an easy way to gain an edge on your competition when you do.
A former manager of mine once told me direct response marketers survive with a 1% response rate. If you follow these strategies I guarantee you’ll have a better response rate than that. The good thing about a job search campaign though is you only need a conversion rate of 1.