Any marketing guru will tell you, the success of a product launch depends on the quality of its advertising message, its exposure to a targeted audience and the skill of its sales presenters. If any one of those critical elements is missing, revenues fall short of corporate goals. Likewise, a successful job search requires:
- A clear marketing message (resume and cover letter)
- Ample exposure to targeted employers
- Polished interview skills to secure the job offer.
Fall short on either of the three, and an extended, lengthy job search is the result.
The first step to a successful job search is a resume that communicates a strong marketing message. Just like a print ad entices the reader toward purchase, your resume has one job: to entice employers to call you for an interview.
How does one transform a boring, historical document into a marketing message that sells?
- Focus on benefits rather than features.
- Use accomplishments to illustrate marketable skills.
- Appeal to management buying motivations with examples of bottom-line impacting results.
Once you’ve transformed your work history into a marketing message, you’ll want to give it as much quality exposure as possible. Marketing professionals use various media to get their message out. New athletic shoes may be promoted through print ad, television and online medium. Likewise, get maximum exposure of your job-search marketing message, with several strategies, both proactive and reactive.
One of the most common complaints I hear from job seekers is that they get no response from their resume. When asked how they use their resume, it’s usually 100% in response to posted job listings. Securing an interview from a job posting is like trying to catch a fish in a pond that is ringed elbow-to-elbow fishermen. To make matters worse, there’s a sign posted at the pond that reads, “Due to budgetary cuts, the pond wasn’t stocked this year.”
To get maximum exposure and more interviews you’ll want to include some of the following strategies:
- Networking with professionals who may provide job lead information.
- Conducting your own target-market campaign to selected employers.
- Resume distribution to a large, yet select group of qualified headhunters.
All the exposure in the world will not get you closer to your next career position if your interview skills are not sharper than your competition. Just like a sales person whose rent money depends on his/her ability to outsell the competition, so must the job seeker hone his/her interview skills in order to win the offer. Second choice still means “unemployed.”
Some job-seekers cringe at the thought of conducting a job interview as a sales presentation. Natural-born sales people are rare. The most effective and highly paid sales professionals had to learn and practice their skills. Job seekers of any background and personality style can adapt sales skills to perfect their interview skills. Minimally, those skills should include:
- Pre-interview research of the prospective employer.
- Anticipation of and answers to relevant questions.
- Questions to uncover unstated concerns.
- Closing skills that lead to the next stage or the offer.
Job seekers in a lengthy job search may benefit from analyzing which of the three critical elements is not working for them. Start by asking these questions:
- Is my resume-send-out to interview ratio low? Maybe it’s a resume problem.
- Am I finding enough job leads? Maybe it’s time to implement proactive strategies for better exposure.
- Do I consistently end up “second choice” in job interviews? Probably time to sharpen the interview skills.
Making sure your skills are their sharpest in all three critical elements of the job search will help you gain your career objective in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress.
Deborah Walker, CCMC, Resume Writer and Career Coach, For more in-depth information on resumes, job-search strategy and interview skills, check out the article archive at my website: www.AlphaAdvantage.com
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