A successful job search needs an eye-catching marketing campaign for a great product: you!
Although nobody knows you better than you know yourself, it’s not always easy to pitch yourself right, especially when you’ve only got your CV and cover letter to prove that you have the skills, experience and personality to succeed in a new job.
Here are some tips:
Sell the product
It’s hard to sell yourself… All our lives we’re taught not to boast and definitely never – EVER – be big headed. But now you really have to go for it! Think of yourself as a product and fill your CV and cover letter with the benefits and special features that would make a potential employer want to buy.
Don’t be shy
Americans are NOT shy about selling themselves but it’s often a problem for many Brits. If you’re not confident then talk about your skills and experience as if you were recommending a friend or colleague. “We’re not good at self-promotion,” says Peter Appleby, managing director of career consultants, Appleby Associates. You could even get a good friend to write bits of your application for you if you’re struggling.
Pick your audience
Build a hit list of employers who will be interested in your particular skills and experience. Don’t forget to contact professional institutions and local clubs as they will have information on local employers and be easier to talk to than a company’s HR department.
Clara, a marketing manager looking for her next move up the ladder, decided to meet marketing directors in the flesh. A little flattery goes a long way and when Clara called she asked for advice, not a job. “A surprising number agreed to meet me and a personal recommendation led to a job”. And it’s surprisingly easy to do.
Be forward but not arrogant
Although it’s essential that you sell yourself, you do need to choose your words and tone carefully. It’s important to “avoid sounding boastful when reflecting your strengths”, says Mike Warren, director of Proteus Consultancy. For example, you could say: “I have a reputation for writing outstanding code” rather than “I am the best programmer in my team”.
Use your budget well
Every marketing campaign needs a budget and job hunting is no exception. But rather than money, your most important resource is time. It’s easy to be “busy” looking for jobs, but is your hard work getting you anywhere? When applying to job ads, stay focused and only look at companies that offer the right ‘fit’ for you. Wasting time on lots of random jobs is not a good way of get-ting anywhere.
Email is unavoidable in the modern job hunt and highly effective if used well. “People scan emails, they don’t read them,” advises Paul Crabtree, marketing director of Adestra, an email direct marketing agency. His golden rules of email marketing are: Use bullet points and short paragraphs to make it easy on the eye. Use a subject line to explain what the email is about rather than cryptic, teasing messages. Tailor each email for each application and don’t use the BCC function. Avoid large images to ensure you get past company email firewalls.
Contributed by Soniya Akthar, 5E Employment Adviser