How to use marketing techniques in your job search

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When marketing a product or corporate brand, you need to identify your different audiences, segment them and craft messages for them. These things also apply to job hunting—which is really nothing more than a sales process, except your selling your own qualifications and skills instead of a company’s product or service. Here’s how to use marketing techniques in your job search.


Very rarely do even the best products sell themselves, which is why companies spend billions of dollars on marketing and advertising every year. The first step in any marketing campaign is to identify the intended audience. For a job hunter, the intended audience may include hiring managers, HR personnel, networking colleagues, lines of business heads, divisional presidents and other influential members of companies you want to work for.


As a job hunter, the people in your audience will be diverse and you can’t treat them all the same and give them the same messages. Once you’ve identified your audience, break it up into segments so you can target your messages strategically. The information you give a recruiter should be different from a colleague you’re networking with, which should be different from what you give to a hiring manager.


For example, with a recruiter, you want to give a lot of details about your qualifications and your experience, so that they will be well equipped to place you. Networking on the other hand is one of the best ways to get jobs, but in most situations, it’s not appropriate to come out and ask for a job—so you need to keep your message short and memorable (elevator pitch) and couch it in a way where rather than asking for a job, you’re actually offering your colleague value. With a hiring manager, you need to stand out from a crowded field by demonstrating your problem-solving abilities.


Creating a customized resume and cover letter for each position you apply for is another way to target your messages.


When you target your messages, make sure to do your research: What inches the meter for these people? What are their pain points? How can you solve the problems they face? In marketing, this is part of speaking your customers’ language, and it is just as important in job hunting.


Part of targeting your message is about choosing your communication channels. What’s the best way to communicate with your audience? Direct communication channels include things like email, the phone, and social media. Indirect channels include media outlets (e.g. an article about you in the newspaper) and networking through mutual colleagues. A channel’s effectiveness will vary based on the person.


Whatever the channel though, you need to get your audience’s attention and engage them.

Traditional means include applying to job postings, networking with colleagues, and sending thank you notes after interviews. Less common ways include “stunts” and other creative ways of getting your message out. Whatever your approach, you need to demonstrate how you bring value to the organization just as marketers need to demonstrate how their product provides value.


When getting your message out, creativity can be a very powerful weapon, in both marketing and job hunting. Creative marketing materials are successful because they stand out from competitors’ ads and often stick in people’s minds. Same thing is true in job hunting. For example, take the case of Phil Dub, a French web designer created an Amazon-look-alike page to market himself. His creativity impressed the world and his online resume went viral, resulting in hundreds of job offers.


Looking for more information on using marketing techniques in your job hunt? Check out this free webinar on “How to Double and Even Triple Your Job Leads Using LinkedIn” from Lisa Rangel, managing director of and moderator for LinkedIn’s Premium Job Seeker Group. The webinar will be broadcast on July 24, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

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