Job seekers are often their own worst enemy when it comes to finding and landing a new job. They may be extremely qualified and bubbling with potential, but if they can’t present themselves in the best possible light, they lose out to the next candidate. They can easily blow it all with a bad interview, a lousy resume, or outdated marketing tactics.
As a great job candidate, it’s your job to make sure everyone knows how valuable you are. Don’t expect to get any top job offers without a firm strategy and a stellar personal marketing campaign. Here are five job search strategies that you can implement right now to improve your marketability:
- Write about your achievements: First things first – take a look at your resume. If it’s still set up as a series of past job descriptions, then it has failed you as a marketing document. A great resume is supposed to be an advertisement of specific accomplishments and competencies (don’t be bashful, now is the time to toot your own horn). Frame your past jobs in terms of projects completed, goals met, revenue saved, etc. Using bland job duties and summaries doesn’t say anything about you as a candidate: job duties were tasks you had to do, not things you accomplished. What you did on a daily basis is not that important; it’s the milestones you reached over time that adds value and significance to your work history.
- Reach out to total strangers: Are you confident enough to pick up the phone and call a stranger? To connect with someone you’ve never met on LinkedIn? Top job seekers do it all the time. And they’re the one’s who land the jobs they want. Let’s face it, if you’re only applying to jobs through company websites, your resume isn’t getting into the hands of the people that need to read it. It’s most likely getting chewed up and categorized by some HR software that doesn’t get you any closer to an interview. On the other hand, if you actively make connections with professionals that matter, you raise your chances of actually meeting with someone. Employees that work inside your target companies and recruiters with strong networks are your best resources to reach out to.
- Tell stories during the interview: When your interviewer asks, “can you tell me about this previous position?” or asks a similar open-ended question, they want you to start talking. Oblige them. People want to hear stories (stories based on facts, of course). Interviewers want to know that your results are driven by experiences gained and lessons learned and mistakes made along the way. It’s far worse to have no stories, or only data-driven jargon that’s hard to conceptualize. For the interviewer, a humanized job applicant is easier to visualize working at their company than a soulless drone. Remember, interviewing is part of your marketing strategy: you need a plan and a compelling message.
- Position yourself as a solution: Convince your interviewer that you are the only logical choice for the job. But don’t focus on yourself. Instead of talking about how great the opportunity is for you, suggest how you can make your boss’s job easier. Re-affirm your value by running through some hypothetical scenarios in which you solve a specific need or problem. If you position yourself as the best possible solution and a valuable asset to the company, the employer will recognize the opportunity they’d be passing up if they didn’t hire you.
- Self-assess after the Interview: Consider your last interview. How was your performance? Is there anything you would have changed? Can you look back and learn from your mistakes? The secret to being a great job seeker and a sought after candidate is to capitalize on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. While most job seekers bemoan the thought of a trial by error interview process, it’s the only way to truly master the discussions and understand your own marketability.
With a well thought out and aggressive marketing strategy, the job search process can be a lot easier, and perhaps shorter. Treat yourself as you would another person – examine your traits and experience with honesty, and then market your strengths aggressively and with conviction. Good luck out there!