by Deborah Walker
As 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.
Similarly, 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 any 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 as 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How does one transform a boring, historical document into a marketing message that sells?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 media. Similarly, 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, they usually say it’s 100 percent 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 with anglers. 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.
- Distributing your resume 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 no sharper than your competition’s. Just as a sales person whose rent money depends on his/her ability to outsell the competition, so must the job-seeker hone his or her interview skills 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. Even 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. [Editor’s note: See our Guide to Researching Companies, Industries, and Countries.]
- Anticipation of and answers to relevant questions. [Editor’s note: See our Job Interview Questions Database for Job-Seekers.]
- Questions to uncover unstated concerns.
- Closing skills that lead to the next stage or the offer. [Editor’s note: See our article, Closing the Interview.]
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:
- How is my ratio of resume-send-outs to job interviews? Maybe it’s a resume problem.
- Am I finding enough job leads? Maybe it’s time to implement proactive strategies for better exposure. [Editor’s note: See our article, 10 Ways to Develop Job Leads.]
- Do I consistently end up “second choice” in job interviews? Probably time to sharpen the interview skills. [Editor’s note: See our Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.]
Final Thoughts on a Successful Job-Search
Ensuring that 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.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Deborah Walker is a Certified Career Management Coach. Her expertise includes resume writing and career coaching. She holds membership in the National Resume Writer’s Association. As a former headhunter, her advice comes from an insider’s prospective based on years working with HR professionals and corporate hiring managers. Visit Deb on the Web. Or email her for a free resume critique/price quote at email@example.com.