In honor of Labor Day, and because our country is facing record unemployment, I thought it would be appropriate to devote a blog to the Job Seeker. Ask any recruiter, the moment you put yourself on the job market, no matter what you do, whether you are an accountant, an engineer, an IT professional or even a dog walker, you are now a marketer. Welcome to my world. There are a few things you should do when you are out there in the market, first off is consider what you are actually doing: you are not just looking for a job, you are asking hiring managers to let you share their space for eight to ten or more hours a day, asking to become a major part of their lives as this manager will probably spend more time with you than she does with her own loved ones. Which brings me to . . . .
Know your audience: That’s the first item on the checklist, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. You are a marketer now, and a marketer’s number one rule is to know their audience. What can you offer them that answers their question: what’s in it for me? Yes, you have to talk about yourself, but frame the content around the question the hiring manager is silently asking. They want to know, “if I hire you what are you going to do for me? How will you make my life easier? Or are you going to be some pain in the rear who can’t do anything?”
Sorry to be blunt, but face it, that is what this all boils down to in the job market. Can you not only do the job, but can you excel, and by excelling you make your manager look better and therefore, make his or day a tad smoother? These are busy people who need solutions. Be a part of that solution.
Forget Elevator Pitches, give them a headline: Think of your skills, your expertise. Now, try to turn that into a concise one-line sentence that sells the benefits the interviewer seeks from you. An account executive or salesman might say, “I brought in over $XXX in revenue in one year alone.” How have you increased revenues, implemented policies, streamlined processes? State is with strong action verbs, but don’t elaborate too long, which brings me to the next point:
Be a communicator, not a bore: I’ve said it many times, if you talk too long on one topic, you are probably boring people, unless they paid to come hear you give a speech. Give them a chance to ask questions or even ask them questions. Don’t have an interview. Have a conversation—unless the interviewer clearly does not want to talk. That goes back to point #1.
Marketers are generally People Persons. They are also generally Big Talkers. They love to chat, and by chatting, that means have a two-way conversation. So ask intelligent questions of your interviewer. Do some research on the company and the job. A little Google research will turn up dozens of lists of interview questions the job seeker can ask the interviewer. Remember to slant your questions in a way that will let you eventually answer their hidden question of “what’s in it for me?”
If finding a job is about marketing yourself, then just remember the fundamental tenet of marketing: you are filling a need. Show how you can do that, and hopefully, you will have a jump start over your competitors.