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December 10, 2017

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Reinvent Yourself

Applying Marketing’s Textbook Rules

In today’s job market, it seems that it has become increasingly difficult to get an interview with a company, not to mention the difficulty in getting an actual offer. In fact, many of the people I talk to or work with claim that getting to the interview stage has been very difficult and slow - for some nearly impossible - and they just don’t know what’s wrong. They are skilled, qualified individuals…once greatly sought after with promises of fame and fortune. So what’s going on?

What happened to the days where we didn’t have to put in any effort to look for a job, recruiters were calling nonstop, and offers were being thrown at us on what seemed a regular basis? What happened to 10 jobs for every resume? What happened to big sign-on bonuses, large paychecks, and the feeling of being wanted? Have the tables turned?

Browsing sites like Net-Temps, and others, there seem to be plenty of good openings still out there…so what is going on? Why does it seem so hard to get an interview these days?

Daily, more and more people get downsized, laid off, and unemployed; while many others often sit and wait for their time to come. With more resumes flooding the market than open positions, the product that we had worked so hard to perfect (ourselves) has sadly become more of what seems like a commodity.

So how do you take a commodity and turn it into something unique, something that stands out from the rest?

Reinvent Yourself using Marketing 101!

Begin to look at yourself as a product, and start working on your “Sales and Marketing Plan.”

Your Product:

-Self

Your Salary:

-100% Commission based on your first sale, with a potential 6-month draw (yes, Unemployment)

Your Sales and Marketing Plan:

Your sales and marketing plan can be as simple as a common 10-step Marketing process:

Phase 1. Research and analyze the market

Before you start looking for job, it is a good idea to research and analyze the market, to gain an inside picture of the industry, the trends locally and nationally, and the needs of your perspective employers.

Phase 2. Assess the competition

After analyzing the market, try to envision and assess your competition. What are your strengths in comparison? What are your weaknesses in comparison?

Phase 3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on them

Once you have identified your competition and found your own internal strengths and weaknesses, this is the time to display your strengths and enhance and build on your weaknesses. Taking classes, reading, learning from others, and being mentored are all good ways to address your weaknesses and will help you retool and reinvent yourself going forward.

Phase 4. Define your unique selling proposition

Understanding your strengths, this is the time to create your USP…the unique selling proposition. This is the compelling reason why employers would benefit by choosing you over the competition. Make this USP apparent in all your communications, both written and verbal…both on your resume and your interviews.

Phase 5. Define Your target market(s)

Next, you need to consider the “target market,” or the segment of the population that can benefit and use your services. Try to define who your customers are in detail, as well as their needs, and what benefit they will derive by using your service. At this point, you should also know the specific vertical markets (industries) that you will be targeting as well as the needs/pains you will be solving for each.

Phase 6. Set your price

Although you will never win by competing on price alone, pricing is still one of the most essential factors in marketing and selling. If you price too high, your sales will suffer…if you price too low, your profits will suffer. Determine a price that works best for you, and for the market. Find out what people are CURRENTLY paying for services similar to the ones you are offering and remember your USP – your unique selling proposition – to justify any questions related to pricing.

Phase 7. Plan your marketing, promotion and advertising

A good marketing plan documents your objectives and how you plan to achieve them with your current market analysis, competition, target market, price and your unique selling proposition. A good marketing plan also identifies ways in which you plan to reach your target market and the tools necessary to enable those initiatives. Good cover letters, resumes, professional profiles, and even a portfolio of your work will need to be created and available as your Marketing Communication literature for proper promotion. Advertise by attending job fairs, tradeshows, and networking events and simply introduce yourself to people and allow them the opportunity to meet the person behind the resume…

Phase 8. Project the right image

Image affects sales! As such, it is very important to project the right image…the right image for yourself and the company you are targeting that is! Image permeates every aspect of yourself, from your exterior to your attitude to the resume and cover letter you send out. You will need to give careful thought as to the image you are trying to project, and work on getting it right!

Phase 9. (Learn to) Sell

Making a sale is the end-result of all your marketing initiatives. One of the main skills to learn here is the skill of listening. The other, the skill of negotiating. Also, remember to always sell the Benefits…your unique selling proposition!

Phase 10. Analyze your sales data and deal with change

Just like in business, the market may react differently to your product (you, in this case) than you had hoped for or expected. This is natural. And, in today’s times, when we experience slightly longer sales cycles than we would like, it is a good idea to take the time to analyze your Sales Data for trends…Analyze what is going on…what you did well, what you didn’t do well, what you liked, what you disliked, and take note going forward. Perhaps you will need to adjust your unique selling proposition, your price, or your target market. You may even realize you will need to retool yourself some more…

-Susan Dorfman
President, CareerLadder Associates, LLC

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