Have you considered that you are marketing yourself when changing career or looking for a new role? Do you have a well thought out, do-able, fun, step-by-step plan, that is clear and concise?
Well done if you said yes!
If you said no, let me ‘help’ you feel better for a minute, did you 49% of small businesses don’t even have a plan of any shape or form! Not even notes on a napkin! For some, it’s all ad hoc: sometimes a little marketing, sorry, advertising is undertaken (usually out of panic when there is no custom).
In my experience (working with local business owners), they say things like ‘I’ve put out few flyers and heard nothing’ or ‘I’ve advertised on a free ad site (Gumtree etc) and no calls’ or ‘we ran an advert in the paper, so far zilch’. And sadly the approach many small biz owners take when putting out their ‘message’ has nothing to do with their potential customer, no, they make it all about them.
Okay, that’s business but what about you…
Sadly many job searchers apply the same tactics. The difference is in language they say ‘I’ve sent my CV and heard nothing back’ or ‘I applied for 50 jobs online, not one has replied’ or ‘I called a number to an advert and nothing’.
Their search can also be ad hoc: applications and CV’s are sent out of panic (when the current job is painful enough to apply elsewhere), they apply the same method and information to numerous job adverts, and like in business they make their search all about them and not what problem they solve for an employer: they not have thought through their ultimate value of their offer.
I don’t think it would surprise you that many people ‘struggle’ selling themselves when it comes to job searching and applying. (I’m not going to ignore the fact that ‘job roles’ are disappearing, more people are applying for the same position, which why it makes even more sense to learn how to sell you!)
Selling is not a dirty, rude swear word, honest. The art of selling is ‘to persuade (another) to recognise the worth or desirability of something’ – in the case of the job searcher it’s your sole (only) task to persuade a hiring employer that you are worthy of being hired. That’s it!
When it comes to marketing a business, brand, service or YOU, you’re ultimate goal is to make the strongest persuasive pitch of why ‘you’ are the best choice for an employer to ‘buy’.
1. Know Your Product, You!
No business owner in their right mind would market a product, service or business unless they knew everything that it does for a customer PLUS it’s weaknesses and flaws.
In order to sell yourself you have to know and be able to describe your ‘product’: who you are, what you do, your mission, your uniqueness, your skills, your attributes, your weaknesses, the benefits of choosing you above others.
If you need help to figure this out, get it! Even a friend who won’t put words in your mouth can help.
2. Know Why You’re Unique
- What is it you do better than anyone else?
- Where in life have been your successes?
- What’s your unique selling point?
- What is it you need people to know about you?
- How can you get that message across in everything you do?
- What are you worth?
- Where do you add most value?
In my experience many people miss this crucial step, it’s not a 20-minute ‘job’ when a form arrives or when you are sitting in front of monitor.
What happens is this, if you are vague about what your product does, you leave gaps or holes in the message you’re trying to convey, leaving the space for a hiring employer to fill in the details in their own head. What a waste of an opportunity if they are ‘making up information’ that isn’t accurate (another reason why you should never leave gaps, questioning heads fill in the information.)
3. Know Your Customer (Employer) – Do Your Research
In business some companies waste time trying to market what they offer to everyone, the truth is not everyone is going to be interested in what they have to sell.
Do your homework for each and every position you apply for and work out if what you’re selling will appeal to an employer; in other words do you actually want to ‘sell’ to them? Look online at a company, follow them on social media, speak to people already in the organisation. Does the culture ‘fit’ your brand?
Will your product (you) actually be a match? Many apply for ‘anything’ without even considering if they are the best match. Seriously, you’re product may have flaws such as how far it can travel to work, caring responsibilities, times that can be worked etc. I’ve seen many people take the ‘apply for anything’ approach and they get anything! A few months down the line they are incredible unhappy with what they got! Do your research.
The ‘Sell’ is NOT About You
You may think because you are the one applying, it;s about you, which actually makes the ‘sell’ hard.
In all the steps you take, take ‘you’ out of it and focus on the needs, headaches, problems and nightmares of the employer. They DO have one, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking for help!
When marketing yourself (online, off, via forms, CV’s) state how you solve the problems, be specific, and make yourself a ‘magic pill’ or formula to the headaches.